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City HallThe AgendaLegal settlements for police abuse have cost SF more than $20...

Legal settlements for police abuse have cost SF more than $20 million since 2019

Plus: Ronen takes on the feds over Laguna Honda, Jenkins drops charges against cop, and planners finally want to close the book on a scandal. That's The Agenda for Feb. 12-19.

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While Mayor London Breed goes all-in on law enforcement, and District Attorney Brooke Jenkins moves to dismiss charges against a killer cop, the Board of Supes is about to approve a payout of $1.95 million to settle a claim by Francisco Valle, who claims that Officer Paul Morgado, who has past misconduct problems, shot him without reason in 2017.

That’s the latest in a long series of expensive settlements related to bad behavior by the cops—something that the mayor never mentions when she talks about increasing the police budget.

Mayor Breed wants more money for the cops, but bad behavior is costing the city a fortune. Photo by Ebbe Roe Yovino Smith.

Since 2019 alone, the taxpayers have forked over more than $20 million to settle police-abuse cases, money that the city badly needs right now. Nationwide, that total over the past decade has been more than $3 billion.

That settlement is before the Government Audit and Oversight Committee Thursday/16 at 10am. The supes are scheduled to hold a hearing on police reform Tuesday/14 but it appears it will continued until March.

Meanwhile, the Police Commission continues to work on reforms, at times in conflict with Breed. The commission will consider a new, stricter policy for referring potentially troubled officers to the Behavioral Health Unit, and will discuss why the department hasn’t managed to turn over to the Department of Police Accountability key records about contacts with the feds and the department’s response to a proposed policy on First Amendment protected activities.

Janelle Caywood, policy director at the DPA, sent a request back in October:

Please provide any agreements/reports currently in place or in the process of being drafted between the SFPD and the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JJTF).

Please provide any agreements/reports regarding SFPD’s involvement in NCRIC (Northern California Regional Intelligence Center).

Please provide examples of information that goes to and from NCRIC.

The Department, according to a series of emails attached to the Police Commission agenda, still hasn’t turned over the material.

That meeting starts at 5:30 pm.

Let me just say, for the record, that there’s a reason the San Francisco Police Officers Association worked so hard to defeat Chesa Boudin for district attorney.

For the POA, this was never about street crime; it was about making sure that cops were never prosecuted for killing people.

And now the new DA is doing exactly that the POA wants. She is dropping the charges against former officer Christopher Samayoa, and has apparently done nothing to pursue existing charges against the cop who shot Sean Moore.

That is what we are back to in this city, with the full support of the mayor, who had nothing but praise for Jenkins at her State of the City speech Thursday.

DA Brooke Jenkins is doing exactly what the POA wanted, with the full support of the mayor. Photo by Ebbe Roe Yovino Smith.

Sup. Connie Chan is taking advantage of Question Time Tuesday/14 to ask Mayor Breed about “neighborhood blight.” That’s a big one, that gets into commercial landlords not renting out storefronts and so many other issues—but also touches on the big efforts the mayor is making to “revitalize” downtown, when the neighborhoods may be and often have been the source of the most job growth and new economic activity in the city.

Question Time starts at a little after 2pm. It’s the first item on the board agenda.

Sup. Hillary Ronen has taken the lead for the city in challenging the federal government, particularly Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, over the future of Laguna Honda Hospital.

In fact, Ronen set off a bit of a furor last week when she declined an invitation to a San Francisco General Hospital Foundation gala celebrating the 150th anniversary of one of the city’s most important institutions.

She refused to go, she said in a letter to the foundation, because the event would honor Becerra—who has “done everything to threaten and punish Laguna Honda and its patients.”

This whole situation never needed to happen—and Becerra and Gov. Gavin Newsom are at fault. Meanwhile, as Ronen notes in her letter, “after the transfer of dozens of patients to alternative facilities, 12 of those patients have died. Furthermore, despite the raging homeless crisis on the San Francisco streets, including many disabled, sick, and elderly people, Laguna Honda has not admitted a single new patient since April 2022.”

Sup. Hillary Ronen refused to go to an event honoring the man who is screwing SF on Laguna Honda. Photo be Ebbe Roe Yovino Smith.

That’s because of Becerra, who could solve this with the stroke of a pen.

The SF Standard wrote about this. So far, unless I have missed something, the Chronicle has not.

The Health Commission’s committee on Laguna Honda meets Tuesday/14 at 4:30pm; info on remote attendance is here.

It’s hard to know what even to say about this one. The Planning Commission is finally coming to terms with the owners of five buildings on San Bruno Avenue that have been in violation of city codes since at least 2017. The property has links to the ongoing DBI scandal—and SIA Consulting, which is also involved in the 98 Pennsylvania Avenue project, was part of the San Bruno effort.

So maybe planning can close the books on this one. But the problems that allowed it to happen are still very much alive.

48 Hills welcomes comments in the form of letters to the editor, which you can submit here. We also invite you to join the conversation on our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.

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