By Phoebe Glick, Nicole Gonzales, and Anika Khubchandani
SAN FRANCISCO – A 21-year-old man was shot several times and killed by the San Francisco Police Department over the weekend, according to news reports.
Responding to an alleged carjacking attempt Saturday near Market and Gough Streets, SFPD officers chased a suspect to Otis and Brady streets.
The man, who died after being shot in the ensuing chase, was later identified as Cesar Vargas by the Medical Examiner’s Office. A SFPD officer attempted to administer compressions on Vargas after the shooting, but medical experts on the scene pronounced the suspect dead.
Devin Fehely, a reporter for KPIX 5, reports that the neighborhood where the alleged carjacking took place has seen an increase in homelessness, drugs, and poverty.
A resident of the neighborhood shares that “he hopes things can be done nonviolently.”
Police have not supplied any further details of the chase or the moments leading up to Vargas being fatally shot, except to say that a knife was found at the scene. Vargas had allegedly used it in the carjacking attempt.
The shooting was captured on as-of-yet unreleased body camera footage, and a town hall meeting is pending. There, SFPD will release more details about the shooting, with oversight from several entities, including the District Attorney’s office and the Department of Police Accountability.
The officer who shot Vargas has not been identified. This is San Francisco’s second police shooting of the year.
In previous years, the San Francisco Police Department has received an “F” on the California Police Scorecard, in large part due to their use of deadly force and numerous civilian complaints of police misconduct. San Francisco ranked 83rd among California police departments with an overall score of 43 percent.
From 2016-2018, SFPD had 20 deadly force incidents. Of those 20 incidents, nine people were killed and eight were seriously harmed by SFPD. The California Police Scorecard reports that Black people were 19.3 times more likely, and Latinx people were 3.5 times more likely, than a white person to have deadly force used against them. Further statistics show that SFPD showed more racial bias in arrests and use of deadly force than 91 percent of police departments.
While the SFPD received 1,456 police misconduct complaints in the two year period, civilians were very rarely heard. Only seven percent of misconduct complaints saw rulings in civilians’ favor— and that figure dropped lower to just two percent when looking specifically at use of force complaints.
Officers in San Francisco have been further criticized by the local anonymous artist BiP. The muralist painted an eight-story image depicting a “baby cop” on Franklin St. in Hayes Valley. The mural is meant to highlight police brutality in San Francisco and across the nation.
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