Police Union to Muni: Drop Dead
Cops tell Muni to "lose our number"
Advocates and protesters documented how the SFMTA has been providing charter buses to take riot cops to police brutality protests around the city. Responding to pressure from lawmakers and the public, on Tuesday/yesterday, the agency announced it has discontinued this practice.
The San Francisco Police Officers Association (POA), the union for the city’s cops, had this reply:
Streetsblog has requests in for a response from SFMTA and Mayor London Breed’s office. Cat Carter of the San Francisco Transit Riders told Streetsblog she’s glad the agency is no longer diverting buses and tasking operators with ferrying police: “Providing better transit for riders is always the critical need, especially during times when we have bare-bones service.”
And to differentiate between the police union and the police brass, Adam Lobsinger, an SFPD spokesperson, had this to say:
The San Francisco Police Department stands for safety with respect for all, and we at SFPD know that means respecting the views of all those we serve. We recognize we are all in the midst of a difficult, emotionally charged time as we come to terms with painful truths about the kind of policing that took George Floyd’s life in Minneapolis. We respect and honor the actions SFMTA is taking to advance the cause of racial justice and equity. SFPD’s commitment to the safety and First Amendment rights of those we serve remains undiminished, of course, and we’ve adjusted our transportation and operations accordingly.
“In regards to the tweet put out by the SFPOA, I’ll refer you back to them,” he added.
The POA had this in a followup tweet: “As city leaders demand cuts to SFPD, it needs to be clear what SFPD will no longer do. If a ride on an out of service bus to ensure peaceful protests is too offensive, then don’t send us in to provide ‘security’ services to catch fare jumpers.”
Muni union president Roger Marenco found that to be more a reflection of current conditions than a threat. “SFPD likes taking their time when operators call for assistance.” He said he’d like SFMTA to contract with another law enforcement agency, or even hire its own officers who are dedicated to patrolling transit.
He also supports many of the ideas behind the “defund the police” movement. “More safety workers, more guidance counselors… the root of the problem is to have more resources, not more police officers.”
“Better transit means riders and operators must feel safe while using Muni. While this may include SFPD support, it is not the only option,” added Carter.