Gold in Peace, Iron in War

“Oro en Paz, Fierro en Guerra”

Which is the official motto of the City of San Francisco and the police department of the city of San Francisco. Perhaps a better motto would be “To Protect and Serve.” Because clearly the city, or its police, do neither well.

And when was the last time San Francisco fought a war?

I’ve been reading articles about the death of Bridget Klecker.

Who was once my boss at the Borders Bookstore in Mission Bay, who once brought me water when I was thirsty, who always smiled at me, who always laughed with me, who always calmed me down when I was frustrated.

She was killed this last weekend. While crossing a street in the Financial District. By a car full of criminals, who had just robbed at gunpoint, who were driving a stolen car, who were being chased by the police.

I’ve been reading articles about the death of Bridget Klecker.

And in these articles, the SFPD is conspicuously silent.

I won’t say the SFPD is the cause of Bridget’s death. Obviously the fleeing criminals that hit her are the cause of her death. But I won’t say the SFPD doesn’t bear some responsibility for her death.

According to the SFPD General Orders:


An officer should base a decision on whether to initiate, continue or
terminate a pursuit on the facts and reasonable inferences at the time of the decision.

An officer shall consider the following factors and conditions in deciding, under the totality of the circumstances, whether to initiate, continue or terminate a pursuit. As the pursuit evolves, officers shall continue to evaluate whether to continue or terminate the pursuit.

The officer should make this determination based on the following factors:

a. Protection of the public, given the known or reasonably suspected offense and the apparent need for immediate capture against the risks to the public or police officers;
b. Risk to safety of the public in the area of the pursuit;
c. Risk to safety of the pursuing officers;
d. Presence of passengers in the pursued vehicle;
e. Speeds involved in the pursuit;
f. Vehicular or pedestrian traffic safety and volume;
g. Traffic conditions;
h. Weather conditions;
i. Proximity of the fleeing vehicle to the pursuing unit;
j. Familiarity of the officers in the primary pursuit vehicle and the pursuit supervisor with the location and area of the pursuit;
k. Quality of radio communications between pursuing unites); DEM and the pursuit supervisor;
l. Time of day;
m. Road conditions;
n. Capability of the police vehicles involved;
o. Availability of air support;
p. Whether the violator can be identified and safely apprehended at a later time; and
q. Knowledge of the location of the pursued vehicle.

And who knows? Perhaps the threat to the public safety justified the death of Bridget. But I doubt it very very very much. If the threat was so great, these assholes wouldn’t have escaped from Treasure Island. From a fucking island! In the middle of the bridge!

But the police aren’t talking.

And the police aren’t talking because they know they fucked up.

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