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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: San Francisco | Government & Elections | Immigrant Rights | Police State and Prisons | Racial Justice
The People vs. George Gascon
The District Attorney Should Defer To The Community in Police Killings
People like George Gascon are hired or put in office for a reason. When it comes to the crunch they will bend for the agenda of the elite and last week he proved it by failing to bring charges against two cops in the killing of Amilcar Lopez-Perez. Gascon, the career politician and bureaucrat and former police chief carried the winning ball for the establishment. The loosers: the people of San Francisco and basically anyone who might misunderstand police commands or who might even question who is messing with them. The people of San Francisco should have been given the right to make a determination on their definition of “excessive force” through the jury system. Gascon denied them that right.
There were just too many questions in this case for Gascon to have the audacity to make the call on this. He appears compromised in many way by being a former law enforcement member and, as district attorney, being required to have a good relationship with police as he pursues convictions with the aid of their investigations and testimony. Puts him in a compromised position. What is worse is that he has pursued becoming the sole party that will investigate cases of police killings. Wouldn’t this be better handled by an independent entity run by a citizens board not by politicians who may have an interest in Police Union Support.
The questions in this case are many and it does not appear that Gascon has provided adequate responses. We really don’t know if Lopez-Perez ever knew that these were police because they were undercover and eyewitnesses claimed that they did not identify themselves. It is likely that even if he did know they were police, he would not have understood them unless they spoke Spanish. There seems to be pure conjecture and confiscation as to what really happened. Was Perez-Lopez fleeing men with guns for his own safety or running with a knife to a person who may have robbed him? Had Perez-Lopez been the actual victim of a crime as some have asserted. The credibility of the San Francisco police is in question given their many actions which have been seen as reprehensible by the community.
All of this needed to be brought out in a court of law not behind George Gascon’s closed door. The people of the community needed to make this decision. Gascon, in an act of further disregard to the San Francisco community, brought in a Use of Force expert whose police experience was with the Baltimore Police Department. Yes, that paragon of police virtue – the Baltimore City Police. Yes, you might conclude that he would have experience in excessive force given the recent death of Freddie Gray at the hands of that force. The Baltimore City Police department is now under state control due to recent scandals and ongoing violations of civil rights. Oh, and like San Francisco police justice – Freddie Gray is put in a van by police and comes out dead but officially no one is responsible. Real justice at work – American style. Who is better to judge “excessive force” standards in our community – the people who live here or some so-called expert whose history is with a corrupt police force?
Given the little that Gascon was able to provide on this case, you have to wonder why it took almost two years to come to a decision. But then that is a known tactic of the police authorities – stall any decision until people have forgotten and the initial fury has settled. You also have to wonder why the community was initially misled about the fact the Perez-Lopez was shot in the back six times. To Gascon, that is not excessive force. Maybe he needs to find another city where his definition falls in line with theirs, not San Francisco. There have to be other ways to deal with people in this situation other than to fire lethal shots over and over again.
The stage is set for Gascon to make decisions on numerous police killings. He appears to be stalling and he really needs to back out and let the community, in a jury situation, make the calls on what is acceptable and what is not.