[News] SF Public Defender Mano Raju calls for major reforms after video surfaces showing SFPD officer with knee on teenager’s neck

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Mon Jun 1 20:44:37 EDT 2020


 sfbayview.com
<https://sfbayview.com/2020/06/sf-public-defender-mano-raju-calls-for-major-reforms-after-video-surfaces-showing-sfpd-officer-with-knee-on-teenagers-neck/>
SF
Public Defender Mano Raju calls for major reforms after video surfaces
showing SFPD officer with knee on teenager’s neck
June 1, 2020
------------------------------

*by SF Public Defender Mano Raju *

The country is mourning after a Minneapolis police officer murdered George
Floyd, an unarmed Black man accused of a nonviolent offense. What happened
to George Floyd is happening all over the United States with miserable
regularity. Anyone paying attention can see that our country is plagued by
police use of excessive force and violence, especially against communities
of color.

In fact, on Saturday, my office learned of a video of an SFPD officer using
the same deadly tactic, kneeling on the neck of an immobilized Black
teenager.

On Jan. 25, 19-year-old Kajon Busby was thrown to the ground by three SFPD
officers who had been called to a verbal dispute between Kajon’s mother and
the next door neighbors. Officer Valle kneeled on Kajon’s neck and back,
pinning him face down on the sidewalk while her partners handcuffed him.
<https://sfbayview.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Kajon-A.-Busby-mother-Kerrine-Busby-031718-on-FB.jpg>Kajon
Busby with his mother, Kerrine Busby, on March 17, 2018, from his Facebook
page

Valle continued to use her knee to put pressure on Kajon’s neck and head
for nearly a whole minute after he was cuffed. In the video, Valle can be
heard attempting to explain the violence by telling the cameraman, “We told
you to leave, but you didn’t want to,” as if that fact, if true, justified
this violence.

All three officers then misrepresented the events in their reports, Valle
claiming she put her knee on Kajon’s back only, and the two others
attempting to omit Valle’s violent conduct altogether.
Kajon Busby graduated from Ida B. Wells High School in San Francisco on
June 4, 2019.

Police who abuse their power should not be wearing a badge. While oversight
and early intervention is important, it means nothing if there is rarely
any meaningful disciplinary action or change. A massive overhaul of our
policing system is needed, and it must be driven by the wisdom of the
communities most impacted by systemic abuse.

The time for incremental reform in the SFPD has long passed. Therefore, we
are calling on the Police Commission and Chief Scott to do the following
now:

1. Issue a general order to the department forbidding any officer from
applying pressure on a person’s neck and head while a person is on the
ground. This new policy comports with SFPD’s policy against other
potentially deadly detention holds such as chokeholds or hobbling. This
policy must be made explicit and take effect immediately.

2. Make the use of potentially deadly detention holds a form of misconduct
that leads to immediate termination.

*. . . enact statewide legislative reforms, including amending provisions
of the Public Safety Officers’ Procedural Bill of Rights that impede the
swift termination of officers who abuse their authority . . .*

3. Make systemic reforms the top priority of the Police Commission,
requiring that the commission agendize only reform measures and discipline
matters, and that the SFPD devote adequate personnel to implement the
remaining California DOJ recommendations pursuant to the Collaborative
Reform Initiative without further delay.

4. End the two-tiered system of justice: Speedily investigate officers
accused of violent and/or dishonest misconduct. Investigations that take
months and sometimes years – while the offenders continue to act under the
color of the law – endanger those who bear the brunt of the abuse and
empower the abusers.

5. Increase investments in alternatives to policing. Our over-reliance on
law enforcement to respond to every call for help in our communities has
led to more violence and over-incarceration. Instead, we must invest in
other forms of social support and respond to crises by assessing needs and
providing the necessary support. The systems currently in place are not the
only options – we can build something different. Diverting funds from
policing to community-based and trauma-informed approaches is the first
step of many needed to help ameliorate the devastating effects that
over-policing has had on communities of color.

Further, I ask the Police Commission and Chief Scott to join us in a
coalition to work to identify and enact statewide legislative reforms,
including amending provisions of the Public Safety Officers’ Procedural
Bill of Rights that impede the swift termination of officers who abuse
their authority – for example, by accelerating the administrative appeals
process.

I am heartened by Chief Scott’s recent statement condemning the police
murder of George Floyd and by the chief’s desire to implement anti-bias
measures. However, the current pace of reform is neither rooting out
violence and racism in SFPD, nor protecting our community members equally,
nor holding violent or dishonest police accountable. San Francisco deserves
better.
*References*

Video surfaces among George Floyd death fallout showing SFPD kneeling on a
man’s neck – SF Examiner – May 30, 2020:
https://www.sfexaminer.com/news/video-surfaces-amid-george-floyd-death-fallout-showing-sf-police-kneeling-on-mans-neck/


SFPD Collaborative Reform Phase II Report from the California Department of
Justice, March 4, 2020:
https://oag.ca.gov/system/files/attachments/press-docs/Final%20Hillard%20Heintze%20Phase%20II%20Report%20for%20the%20San%20Francisco%20Police%20Department-1.pdf

*SF Public Defender Mano Raju can be reached via Public Information Officer
Valerie Ibarra at **Valerie.Ibarra at sfgov.org**.*
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