San Francisco

US Department of Justice Panel Hears from Residents on How to Improve San Francisco Police Department

The United States Justice Department came to San Francisco Wednesday to hear what the public thinks of the police department.

The purpose of the meeting was to identify problems with the police department and fix them.

Federal officials from the meeting found people are skeptical of not only police, but also of the justice department panel. Some people who attended the meeting demanded a full-blown investigation by the justice department and not just the recommendations the panel will provide.

"The complaints about the San Francisco Police Department are not new," San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr said. "It's who was hearing those complaints -- a panel commissioned by the US Department of Justice."

The panel is a team from the Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS, is taking an in depth look at the San Francisco Police Department at the request of Mayor Ed Lee.

"Everything from use of force, stops, search and seizures and things like that," said Noble Wray, who is serving on the justice department panel.

Very few in attendance Wednesday expressed confidence in the process.

About 150 people turned out at the Turgood Marshall High School auditorium for the meeting. Many who attended are members of the Justice for Mario Woods coalition.

Woods, a black man armed with a knife, was shot and killed by San Francisco police officers last year.

Another meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on March 8 at Mission High School. The panel's initial recommendations are expected later this year.

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