SFSU Public Affairs Press ReleasePublished by the Public Affairs Office at San Francisco State University, Diag Center.
Officer exonerated on complaint that weapon was drawn without cause, and charge of unprofessional conduct was not sustained.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - February 25, 2000 - On October 1, 1999 at 1:40 a.m., a male SFSU student was illegally driving a car with four SFSU student passengers on the pedestrian walkway outside of Mary Park Hall. An SFSU public safety officer saw the car approaching and yelled out for the car to stop. The officer was standing between the on-coming car and a fence. The car did not stop immediately. The officer reportedly felt his life was in danger and the officer drew his gun.
Once the car did stop, the officer immediately replaced his gun in his holster. He issued the driver a citation for driving with a suspended license and an expired registration. The vehicle was towed to Colma, CA.
On, January 10, 2000, the driver of the car filed a complaint with the SFSU Office of Public Safety against the officer alleging that the officer drew his weapon without cause and acted unprofessionally by using profanity. Following the complaint, the SFSU Public Safety Department conducted an investigation.
The results of the investigation are:
While the complainant alleges he was not going to run over the officer, the officer stated he feared for his life and felt he would be pinned between the on-coming vehicle and the fence behind him. A nearby female pedestrian had to jump out of the path of the complainant's oncoming vehicle and the officer reportedly backed up 20 feet to "avoid being hit by the complainant's vehicle." Two independent witnesses provided statements that they heard the abrupt stop and screech of the tires when the complainant's vehicle stopped. The investigation also revealed that it was not possible for the officer to see all five occupants in the vehicle during this incident, nor could he determine whether or not they were students at the time he drew his weapon.
Following the completion of the investigation, and due to the seriousness of the allegations in this matter, SFSU Chief Kimberly Wible called in two independent professionals - Sonona State University Chief Nate Johnson and SFSU Lecturer in the College of Ethnic Studies, Black Studies department, Ethnic Studies program Eunice McKinney Aaron -- to review the investigation for thoroughness and impartiality. Both outside reviewers concluded that the officer was justified in drawing his weapon and that counseling for the officer for the possible use of profanity was appropriate.
In addition, all SFSU Public Safety officers will participate in re-training on appropriate professional behavior in the service of their community.
SFSU, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132
Last modified April 24, 2007, by Office of Public Affairs