Police Blotter

An update on the long-lasting Taser debate

Tasers or guns? that has been a volatile argument over the years, with one side wanting to arm police with Tasers to cut down on the deaths from police shootings, whether intentional or unintentional. The other side worries that the use of a less lethal option will make officers more likely to deploy them.

Central Station Captain Paul Yep reports that in June, San Francisco Police Chief William Scott explained the department’s plan to start deploying Tasers (known as conducted-energy devices, or CEDs) while also trying to address the concerns of the second group mentioned above.

The department is citing Department of Justice claims that the use of CEDs “is associated nationally with a decrease in citizen injury of 60 percent,” and that it has “a risk as low as or lower than most alternatives.”

At the same time, the SFPD acknowledges that CEDs sometimes don’t work, can lead to deaths, “are used nationally disproportionately against people of color and those with mental health issues,” and “appear to be incompatible with de-escalation principles.”

So can SFPD square that circle?

Scott’s presentation says those drawbacks have important caveats. “No force option is effective 100 percent of the time,” according to the SFPD. Also, CED’s don’t pose a higher risk of death or serious injury compared to other less-lethal options. The Department of Justice’s “review of SFPD found no correlation between the severity of force used and the citizen’s race.” And “CEDs are entirely compatible with de-escalation principles,” which “SFPD is committed” to.

For details on all of this, visit

The crimes below are just a small selection of the occurrences in the Northside. For more info, go to the SFPD website, select “compstat” to find a link to crime maps.


June 1, 11:48 p.m. • Clay and Taylor Streets

Officers responded to the area of Clay and Hyde Streets following the report of a male pointing a gun at several drivers. At first, they were unable to find the suspect, but they eventually found the suspect’s vehicle as he turned into his residence. They found ammunition and several weapons. The suspect was placed under arrest.


June 2, 3:24 p.m. • Clay and Front Streets

Plainclothes officers observed a suspect walking northbound on Montgomery Street casing vehicles. When the suspect eventually located a vehicle to his liking, he shattered the window and removed several bags of property. The officers arrested him and returned the stolen property in his possession to the owners.


June 8, 7:11 p.m. • Unit block of Pleasant Street

Plainclothes officers located and apprehended a suspect with a felony warrant recently released from Psychiatric Emergency Services. They served a search warrant on the suspect’s residence and discovered several firearms and what they describe as “an extremely large amount of ammunition and a large volume of highly explosive fire-works.” The suspect was placed under arrest.


June 9, 8:21 p.m. • 700 block of Kearny Street

Officers responded to the area of Portsmouth Square where a male was swinging a stick at bystanders. They detained the suspect and located two victims who positively identified him. One victim was injured and treated at the scene by paramedics. The suspect was taken into custody and placed under arrest.


June 13, 7:53 a.m. • 700 block of Kearny Street

Officers showed up to the Portsmouth Square area where a male was swinging around a machete. They found and detained the suspect and were able to locate the machete. A computer check revealed that the suspect had several outstanding warrants. He was placed under arrest.


June 13, 3:45 p.m. • Geary and Leavenworth Streets

Officers responded to reports of a male vandalizing a crosswalk signal box with a metal pipe. The suspect refused to comply with their orders to drop the pipe, and he ran away. They followed him and talked to him to try to de-escalate the situation, but with no success. Finally they deployed a “bean-bag” gun, and the suspect dropped the pipe and was arrested.


June 14, 2:33 a.m. • 1100 block of California Street

Officers responded to a report of a potential suicidal male in possession of a pellet gun at Grace Cathedral. They found a male suspect who was grieving over the death of his dog. They talked him into complying with their requests, and no one was injured. They retrieved his plastic pellet gun, and the suspect was booked on an outstanding no-bail felony warrant for a parole violation.


June 18, 4:33 a.m. • Larkin and Broadway Streets

When approaching a Ford Fusion traveling southbound on Hyde Street that had failed to use its turn signal, officers smelled marijuana and conducted a search of the vehicle. They discovered not only contraband drugs, but also a fully loaded Glock 27 .40-caliber firearm. The suspect was arrested and booked on multiple weapons-related charges, as well as possession of narcotics.

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