Police release the names of nearly all officers involved in shootings since 1990 

click to enlarge San Francisco police investigate the scene of an officer-involved shooting. Ninety-seven such incidents have occurred in The City since 2000. - MIKE KOOZMIN/S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • Mike Koozmin/s.f. examiner file photo
  • San Francisco police investigate the scene of an officer-involved shooting. Ninety-seven such incidents have occurred in The City since 2000.

In the past 24 years, 376 San Francisco police officers have fired their weapons in shooting incidents, according to documents obtained by The San Francisco Examiner that publicly name the officers for the first time.

Most of the officers who fired their weapons during that time span did so only once, but a handful of current and former officers have repeatedly fired their weapons in the line of duty. Ten fired their weapons at least three times over the past 24 years and half are still San Francisco police officers. Only 35 officers were involved in such incidents twice.

In that period, 61 people have died in officer-involved shootings.

This information -- the names of every officer involved in a shooting incident for more than two decades -- was released for the first time after The San Francisco Examiner made a Public Records Act request for the names of every officer involved in a shooting since 1990.

New information

The request would have been denied on legally sound grounds until a recent state Supreme Court ruling narrowed the grounds police departments have to deny such requests. Now, unless there is a credible threat to police officers or a clear reason why such knowledge would interfere with an investigation, the names must be provided.

The department handed over the list of names but did not include dates for each incident beyond the year it happened. So, the details of the incident each officer was involved in remains unclear. The department also did not release the names in the shooting of Alejandro Nieto since, they said, a credible threat exists against the officers.

Police Chief Greg Suhr said every officer-involved shooting is taken very seriously, but each case is specific and should be investigated as such. The dangerousness of each assignment must be taken into consideration as well as whether the officers were attacked or shot at before they returned fire.

Still, when asked if questions are raised when an officer has a repeated record of shooting incidents, Suhr said, "You look for patterns."

Officer-involved shootings are incidents in which an officer intentionally fires his or her gun to stop a threat or an accidental discharged resulting in injury or death. An officer-involved discharge includes not only unintentional incidents, but also the killing of dangerous animals.

An officer's involvement in a shooting does not mean that there was necessarily any wrongdoing.

Repeat incidents

Three officers -- Joseph Buono, Paul Lozada and James Miller -- were each involved in four shooting incidents each. Miller was involved in four such incidents between 1990 and 1996. (A retired SFPD officer also named James Miller was involved in one incident.)

Lozada was involved in shooting incidents in 1993, 1995, 1999 and 2003. Buono, who retired in 2009, was involved in one incident a year from 1991 to 1994. Neither is still employed by the Police Department.

In 2005, Lozada, who had served on a violent crime task force, lost a lawsuit against The City alleging his career was ruined after he was put on desk duty following a 2003 shooting incident.

Seven other officers were involved in three shooting incidents; five of them still work for the department.

They include Oscar Carcelan, who was in shooting incidents in 1992, 1994 and 1995; Michael Connolly, who was in such incidents in 1992, 1993 and 1995; John Lewis who was in similar incidents in 1992, 1996 and 1998; James Garrity in 1992, 1993, 2007; and Joseph Salazar in 1993, 1997, 2007.

The other two officers in the group of seven, William Wohler and John Haggett, do not work for the department. Wohler was involved in one shooting incident in 1993 and two in 1991. Haggett was involved in shooting incidents in 1992, 1995 and 2006.

There are more than 1,700 officers in the department.

Number of officers involved in shooting incidents since 1990:

376

Number of officers involved in shootings at least twice since 1990:

45

Number of deaths in officer-related shootings since 1990:

61

Officer-involved shooting incidents since 2000:

97

NOTE: This article has been updated from the original version to correct inaccurate information about the number of shooting incidents provided by the San Francisco Police Department. Retired officer James Miller was involved in one shooting incident and active officer James Miller was involved in four.

About The Author

Jonah Owen Lamb

Jonah Owen Lamb

Bio:
Born and raised on a houseboat in Sausalito, Lamb has written for newspapers in New York City, Utah and the San Joaquin Valley. He was most recently an editor at the San Luis Obispo Tribune for nearly three years. He has written for The S.F. Examiner since 2013 and covers criminal justice and planning.
Pin It
Favorite

More by Jonah Owen Lamb

Latest in Crime & Courts

Tuesday, Jul 28, 2015

Videos

Related to Crime & Courts

Most Popular Stories

© 2015 The San Francisco Examiner

Website powered by Foundation