Covering the Police

‘Their facts are wrong:’ SF police officer says charges against him are false

Covering the Police is a collaboration with UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. Undeterred by rain, more than a dozen activists gathered on the steps of the Hall of Justice Wednesday morning in support of San Francisco police officer Joel Babbs, who was scheduled to appear in court for a pretrial hearing. “I’m here to support a whistleblower who has called...

Police chief Bill Scott talks about his critics and his first 10 months in SF

In an interview with Mission Local this week, Police Chief Bill Scott talked about a range of issues, including the culture shift in the force he took over nearly a year ago, the need for more services to keep at-risk youth from falling deeper into the criminal justice system and new minimum requirements for community engagement. Formerly the deputy chief...

SF officer grew up in the Mission, now works with the homeless

Covering the Police is a collaboration with UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. Irvin Huerta had thoughts of becoming a police officer when he was younger. He wanted to give back to San Francisco, the city where he was born and raised. At first, he did other jobs, but when one of his best friends, Moises Frias Jr., was shot dead...

SF jiu-jitsu community holds benefit today for injured SFPD officer

Covering the Police is a collaboration with UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. San Francisco’s jiu-jitsu community quickly rallied around one of its own after a hit-and-run sent one of its members, SFPD Officer Elia Lewin-Tankel, to the hospital on Oct. 18. According to police, the Tenderloin officer remains in critical condition. Today at Evolve Training Center, 170 S. Spruce...

For SF beat officers, arresting drug offenders is not always the answer

Covering the Police is a collaboration with UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. Officer Danny Casey has been a beat cop in the Tenderloin for about five years. “You’ve probably walked around and seen people shooting up and smoking crack, right?” he tells me as I stand with Casey and his partner, Officer Kevin Cuadro, at the corner of Turk...

Help over handcuffs: BART police officers see promise in new drug diversion program

The BART police officers said Noah, a homeless resident, might be hard to look at when we found him. They knew from his mother that he was in bad shape, probably needed to go to the hospital, and they were intent on finding him and making that happen.   “I’ve been out here about two and a half years and...

Homeless men and trash spark separate turf tussles in Dolores Park

While the SFPD tries to solve the gang problem that they believe has led to recent shootings in Dolores Park, two other turf tussles have park-goers worked up: the relocation of both trash cans and the homeless. On Sunday, Love Dolores, a campaign sponsored by the Recreation and Park department and two separate volunteer groups, joined to host “A Day...

SF Bayview’s new police captain sees appointment as a homecoming

Covering the Police is a collaboration with UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. Capt. Steven Ford calls his appointment to lead the Bayview Police Station a homecoming. Not just because the Bayview was Ford’s first post after his field training in 1991, but because his parents grew up on its streets in the 1940s — his mother on Navy Road in...

Dramatic scene unfolds as commissioner considers tie-breaking Taser vote

Covering the Police is a collaboration with UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. Robert Hirsch, one of the newest police commissioners and a mayoral appointee, was considered the swing vote in the decision whether to arm the San Francisco Police Department with Tasers. Hirsch, a lawyer who had long been a hearing officer in complaints against the police, had said earlier...

SF police officials greenlight Tasers after long and rowdy meeting

Covering the Police is a collaboration with UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. Months of heated debate over whether to arm San Francisco police with Tasers came to a raucous conclusion late Friday night as the city’s Police Commission voted 4-3 to approve the stun guns. The meeting’s adjournment near midnight was met with thunderous cries of “shame, shame, shame,” from...

SFPD makes case for Tasers ahead of Police Commission vote

San Francisco Police Department Commander Peter Walsh on Friday afternoon made one last case for the adoption of Tasers, just hours before the Police Commission was set to vote on whether to arm the SFPD with the stun guns. The commission’s vote will be the culmination of a tense dialogue between community members, activists and police that has taken place...

Officer critically injured on Halloween recovering slowly

The police officer that was critically wounded in a Halloween night shootout in the Castro is inching closer to recovery, internal police emails obtained by Mission Local indicate. Officer Shawn Kai Hintzen, aged 41 and a nine-year veteran of the police department, was undergoing surgery on his intestines on Thursday morning. He had shrapnel removed from his stomach, and was...

SF’s Dept. of Police Accountability remains without a permanent director

Covering the Police is a collaboration with UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. The director’s chair at SFPD’s Department of Police Accountability was still spinning in June when 50-year-old Paul Henderson was seated as the organization’s interim director. He is the fourth person to hold the position this year. “I think we’re at a pivotal time with the DPA,” said Henderson,...

Kate Steinle’s accused killer gives erratic account of Embarcadero murder

The lead homicide detective in the Kate Steinle case testified Wednesday about the dramatic twelve hours that followed Steinle’s death, beginning with the first 911 call to report a shooting on Pier 14 and ending with a four-hour interrogation. Prosecutor Diana Garcia played a video of the interrogation in court, and argued that it shows Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, who...

Gun that killed Kate Steinle was not fired by accident, expert testifies

On Tuesday, the sixth day of the Kate Steinle murder trial, a San Francisco Police Department criminalist testified that the gun involved in Steinle’s death could not have fired as a result of being hit or dropped. But the defense’s main argument is that the shooting two years ago on Pier 14 was an accident. “My opinion is that the...