SFMTA Stands By Decision Not To Transport Officers To Protests, Police Association Bites Back

Kathy Novak
June 10, 2020 - 4:31 pm
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    A feud is brewing between San Francisco Police Officers Association and the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency following the transit agency’s decision not to transport officers to anti-police brutality protests.

    The SFMTA said it’s part of an effort to advance the agency’s racial equity work. 

    There were deeply mixed feelings about the decision even within the SFMTA, according to Executive Director Jeffrey Tumlin. 

    "We absolutely want to support (San Francisco Police Department) and (Chief Bill Scott) in their mission, but at the same time, we need to also respect the specific concerns of our operators and our passengers," Tumlin said.

    Concerns center on the sight of officers in riot gear on Muni buses heading to protests against police brutality.

    "They’ve had no problem in the past transporting us to all kind of demos and protests and it’s about safety right?" Police Officers Association Vice President Tracy McCray said. "So, what is the problem?"

    The union’s response to the announcement got a lot of attention on Twitter.

    "If there’s a crime committed, we’ll respond but maybe we won’t respond for the other calls that are not crime-related," McCray said.

    In a statement to KCBS Radio, the SFPD says: "The San Francisco Police Department stands for safety with respect for all, and we at SFPD know that means respecting the views of all those we serve. We recognize we are all in the midst of a difficult, emotionally charged time as we come to terms with painful truths about the kind of policing that took George Floyd's life in Minneapolis. We respect and honor the actions SFMTA is taking to advance the cause of racial justice and equity. SFPD's commitment to the safety and First Amendment rights of those we serve remains undiminished, of course, and we've adjusted our transportation and operations accordingly."

    Supervisor Aaron Peskin read out the tweet during a press conference Wednesday and announced he condemned it. 

    "That is dereliction of duty," Peskin said. "I want to salute the SFMTA for that courageous stance."