Members of the San Francisco Police Commission on Wednesday pressed SFPD Chief Bill Scott to investigate whether any San Francisco Police officers were among the Trump supporters who violently stormed the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday.
“I really do not expect to find members of this department involved in that,” said Commissioner John Hamasaki. “But I think that we need to do everything that we can to give the public confidence that we’re saying that is absolutely not tolerated in this department.”
“The department should be investigating this internally to determine whether or not any members participated,” he added.
Despite some initial resistance, Scott said he would “do everything possible within reason” to find out whether that was the case.
Earlier in the meeting, Scott had assured commissioners that he had “no reports” of SFPD officers participating in the violent insurrection. As far as he knew, he said, “None of our employees were party to that.”
Commission President Malia Cohen urged Scott to notify the Police Commission if the Federal Bureau of Investigation identified any SFPD officers as participants and Scott agreed he would. But Hamasaki and Commission Vice President Cindy Elias wanted the department to “proactively” investigate itself.
Hamasaki cited the revelation that Jurell Snyder, a former Oakland police officer, had been among the mob that marched on the Capitol last week. Snyder’s social media postings about his involvement were “liked” by members of the Oakland Police Department, Oaklandside reported. The OPD has opened an internal investigation to weed out those officers.
In a sign that such behavior would not be abnormal at the SFPD, Hamasaki pointed out that the Tenderloin Station Twitter account followed U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colorado. She was one of the House members who objected to the certifying of Arizona’s votes last Wednesday; she is accused of leading Trump supporters on a “reconnaissance” tour the day before the riot. From a separate Twitter account last Wednesday before the mob stormed the Capitol, Boebert tweeted: “Today is 1776.”
Tenderloin Station appears to have unfollowed Boebert.
Hamasaki said a “starting point” for finding officers who may have participated in D.C. could be identifying those who took the day off on Jan. 6, when thousands of supporters of President Donald Trump overtook the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to interrupt Congress’s certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory.
Hamasaki asked Scott whether that sounded “reasonable,” and the chief said he didn’t “know if bringing people in who had a day off for questioning is reasonable.”
The chief said that the SFPD regularly audits police officers’ department-issued cell phones, and it would be able to detect whether officers were participating in groups associated with the incident in Washington D.C. But Scott said he was powerless to ensure SFPD members were using their private devices to participate, as officers have “rights to privacy with their personal devices.”
Commissioner Elias agreed with Hamasaki that the SFPD should do whatever it can to find out whether officers were in D.C. last week. “A proactive approach by the department should be done in terms of ensuring that none of the members were part of this domestic terrorism.”