‘Trump-like fearmongering’: S.F. police commissioner pans union’s jarring ad

San Francisco Police Commission President Suzy Loftus knocked a new advertisement from the city’s police union as a misleading piece of fearmongering.

The advertisement, posted on YouTube Wednesday, depicts an angry man driving a truck into a crowd of protesters on a sunny autumn day. A narrator says that under a proposed city policy, police officers would be prohibited from shooting at the driver in this case — potentially leading to many deaths and injuries.

As the dramatization ends, Officer Reggie Scott tells viewers that the new proposal barring cops from shooting at moving vehicles would prevent them from stopping “senseless slaughter.”

“This could actually happen with the proposal before the city police commission. In Nice, France, 86 people died before police shot and killed the terrorist driver,” Scott says in the ad. “Thirteen years ago I was forced to use my weapon to stop a driver determined to run people down in the Taraval district. Lives were saved.”

Loftus told the San Francisco Chronicle that the ad was misleading and amounts to “Trump-like fearmongering.”

“The facts matter, now more than ever,” Loftus told the paper. “Twenty-five percent of officer-involved shootings in San Francisco since 2000 involved officers shooting at cars. These were not terror attacks, as we see in the tragic case highlighted in the video.”

San Francisco Police Commission president Suzy Loftus listens to community members during a police commission meeting at City Hall in San Francisco, Calif. Feb. 10, 2016. (Ekevara Kitpowsong/San Francisco Examiner)
San Francisco Police Commission President Suzy Loftus listens to community members during a meeting at City Hall. (Ekevara Kitpowsong/San Francisco Examiner)

Scott was one of two police officers who shot and killed Michael Moll, 18, in 2003 after he allegedly backed a stolen Honda Civic into a third, plainclothes officer.

Russell Moll, the young man’s father, told the Chronicle that he was angry that the police union would compare his troubled son to a terrorist for political purposes. Citing police reports, he said there was no crowd, and his son was simply trying to escape, only bumping into other cars. A news article at the time said nothing of Moll attempting to ram the vehicle into a crowd of pedestrians.

The provocative ad concludes with Scott urging viewers to call or email Loftus to oppose the proposal.

According to the Chronicle, “The new policy bars officers from firing at a moving vehicle unless the driver ‘poses an immediate threat of death or serious bodily injury to the public or an officer by means other than the vehicle.’ Under this language, a person who poses a threat with a gun while driving can be shot.”

Loftus vehemently denied the claims in the police union’s ad to local media. She told the San Francisco Examiner that the proposal was borrowed from the New York Police Department and other law enforcement agencies which already have bans on shooting at cars and that these policies have reduced lethal shootings by up to 33 percent.

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