Joe Marshall, who served on the San Francisco Police Commission for 14 years, will serve no longer.
The Board of Supervisors voted 8-3 on Tuesday to reject Mayor Mark Farrell’s nomination of Marshall to the commission, which sets the San Francisco Police Department’s policy and conducts disciplinary hearings for its officers.
Marshall’s latest rejection followed a 6-5 Board of Supervisors downvote of both Marshall and his fellow mayoral appointee, Sonia Melara, in May. Melara consequently decided not to seek reappointment. Marshall and Melara were considered to be more middle-of-the-road on police reform issues. Both voted recently to approve Tasers.
Following Tuesday’s vote, Marshall said he was satisfied with his accomplishments on the board. He said he had recently itemized those accomplishments: the adjudication some 160 disciplinary cases, and the passage of some 37 police department policies — including body-worn cameras and a revised use-of-force policy.
“I looked at it and I was like, ‘Wow — that’s a lot of stuff we were able to do,’” he told Mission Local.
He noted, too, that use-of-force incidents are down, as are citizen complaints.
Asked whether he was eyeing other positions in City Hall, he laughed. “I’m happy to be out of commission limbo,” he said. “Right now, just let me work with my kids.”
He is the executive director and co-founder of the Omega Boys Club, a 30-year-old violence-prevention program.
Some, however, believe Marshall’s departure was long overdue. “The reality is, 14 years on the Police Commission is an extraordinarily long time,” said John Crew, a police reform advocate who recommended the board not reappoint the longtime commissioner.
Crew thanked Marshall for his service, but also said he had been sluggish when it came to reform and was too cozy with the SFPD’s union, the San Francisco Police Officers Association. “This is not his first reform rodeo,” Crew said, noting a common refrain of Marshall’s that “reform takes time.”
He noted that Marshall had overseen an initial review of the SFPD by the Police Executive Research Forum in 2008. “It didn’t get fully implemented,” Crew said. “And that’s why we have the Department of Justice coming in.”
Marshall responded to the criticism saying that he’s always been fair: “I’m not partial to the POA. I’m not partial the ACLU. I’m not partial to anyone.”
Still, Crew said “We need fresh thinking, we need urgency, we need a degree of intolerance for how long this is taking.”