The Board of Supervisors Did the Right Thing on Tasers

Now let’s make doing the right thing a regular thing

Yesterday, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors did the right thing. During a meeting of the Board’s Budget and Finance Committee, which has oversight on the city’s disbursements, Supervisors voted 3–2 to deny the funding that would have equipped the San Francisco Police Department with Tasers. This vote effectively and indefinitely denies SFPD access to Tasers. The Board did this. We know, it’s a strange feeling.

You might remember Tasers from Prop H, the recent, resoundingly defeated ballot measure from our June election. Or you might remember Tasers from November, when cops and the corporation that manufactures the lethal weapons won over the cowardly Police Commission in a vote held behind closed doors. Or you might remember Tasers from all the times this absolutely lethal weapon has been used by police to murder the people they are supposedly here to serve and protect.

As we wrote back in November, the only hope remaining to keep Tasers out of the hands of killer SF cops was if the Board of Supervisors found the spine necessary to deny the funding required for the weapons’ purchase. And in a move that surprised the hell out of me, they actually did it. We write this with a feeling of legitimate surprise. Malia Cohen, Sandra Lee Fewer, and Norman Yee: we are incredibly glad that you did the right thing. The city and its citizens will be safer with a police force that has fewer lethal weapons at its disposal.

While the votes of Cohen, Fewer, and Yee made this happen, we want to call special attention to the efforts made by DSA SF and allies (ACLU, Anti Police-Terror Project, Frisco 500, Wealth and Disparities in the Black Community — Justice 4 Mario Woods, Coalition on Homelessness, Do No Harm Coalition), who worked tirelessly against Tasers. It is no coincidence that three elected officials took a strong stance against Tasers today, less than a month after Prop H went down in flames at the ballot box. We made our voices heard and those we elected to represent us listened today.

That strange feeling when our elected officials do the right thing? That feeling is why we fight. Because we need to get our city to a place where it isn’t strange for officials to do the right thing. What we need, what we demand, is a city where it’s normal for officials to do what’s best for our neighbors and our communities. This version of normal is possible, but it takes hard work. We have to show up over and over again and make sure that our officials are accountable. We have to keep asking the hard questions, speaking truth to power, and making them listen to us. We’ve won this round against Tasers, but they’ll be back. There’s money to be made selling Tasers to SFPD, so you bet your ass they’ll try again. But we will be ready. And we will win. Again.

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For more information on DSA SF and the work of our Justice Committee, please contact them here.