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DA Claims Efforts To Investigate SFPD Being 'Stonewalled'

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – District Attorney George Gascon has sent a scathing letter to Mayor Ed Lee, demanding he live up to his campaign promise of being committed to transparency within the San Francisco Police Department.


Gascon has become angered by what he calls "stonewalling" in his office's attempt to investigate officer conduct including the recent officer-involved shooting of Mario Woods.


Lee has asked federal prosecutors to undertake an independent investigation of the Dec. 2nd fatal police shooting of Woods by several officers. A video of the incident has caused a public outcry in the city.


Gascon said he was pleased by Lee's actions, but wrote the letter with the knowledge that the feds may decide not to look into the case.


"I write today to request that your office reconsiders its lack of support for efforts underway for the past year to reform practices and culture of a department that must be overhauled in order to regain the trust of the community it serves," the D.A. wrote in his letter.


Gascon goes on to say that Lee refused to provide the funds needed to pay staffers to fully investigate a text messaging scandal involving several officers in 2015.


The letter also claims that Lee and San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr have refused to cooperate with an independent panel that Gascon assembled after the funding was denied.   The panel's charge is to investigate seven critical areas where the bias, culture, protocols and procedures within SFPD "can compromise the fair administration of justice," according to the letter.


Gascon said in the six months since the independent panel was assembled, the SFPD and the police officers associate has "engaged in a dizzying array of stonewalling tactics."


He also claimed that Suhr "has never committed the (police) department to cooperation" with the panel.


Gascon goes on to cite a 50 percent rise in officer involved shooting in the city over the last year as a reason for the increased scrutiny.


In closing, the city's top prosecutor urged Lee to live up to his campaign promises.


"These problems are far too serious and far too systemic to simply pay lip service," he wrote. "If you are committed to restoring trust between police and the community, I ask that you take the obvious and immediate action of directing the Chief of Police and SFPD to cooperate with the Blue Ribbon Panel."


There has been no immediate response to the letter from either Lee or Suhr.

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