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Violent attacks on deputies continue despite lockdown at San Francisco jails

Two San Francisco jails remain on lockdown after several violent attacks on deputies.

The latest happened Tuesday morning when two inmates in the same cell refused to come out and be handcuffed.

NBC Bay Area’s SkyRanger spotted at least six deputies dressed in tactical gear, enter the jail responding to the situation.

The sheriff’s department said it all began as they were searching for jail-made weapons they believe were used by the individuals.   

The pair eventually surrendered after nearly two hours of negotiation and the weapons were recovered.

It’s the latest in a series of incidents at San Francisco county jails.  According to the sheriff’s department, nine deputies and staff have been injured or assaulted since March 29.  

While the public defenders office believes staffing shortages are to blame, Sheriff Paul Miyamoto points to crowded jails, violent offenders, and delayed court cases as the major factors behind the spike in violence.

“The uptick is something that we want to address immediately which is why we are doing what we are doing right now,” he said. “There will not be just the lockdown that was mentioned earlier, but the follow up that will involve not just our staff but our command staff, all of our resources, our partnerships with behavioral health and mental health.”

“We do know the sheriffs department has deployed 130 deputies to join the joint drug taskforce in the Tenderloin, so they do have some staff that are out in the field that are doing other things,” said Valerie Ibarra from the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office. “That’s one source that we would point to.”

Both the San Bruno and Downtown San Francisco jails have been on lockdown since Friday. 

One of the issues that triggered the lockdown was a deputy sustaining a head injury after being punched repeatedly and falling to the ground. Another deputy was bitten in the arm.

At one point, the sheriff’s association even suggested the national guard be called in to help bridge the staff shortage.

But on Tuesday the sheriff said he believes deputies can handle the situation without outside help.

Sheriff Miyamoto said the lockdown at Jail 2 in downtown San Francisco will be lifted Wednesday, while the San Bruno location will reopen later this week. 

Read Assistant Chief Attorney Angela Chan of the San Francisco Public Defender’s office’s statement bellow: 

“Over the last year, the SF Sheriff’s Department has deployed 130 deputies to the Tenderloin as part of local law enforcement’s revival of the regressive and harmful War on Drugs. These tactics have ramped up arrests and bookings, which has led to an increase in the jail population to over 1,180 from a low of approximately 800 during the pandemic. It is disingenuous for members of the Sheriff’s Department to say it is understaffed when the agency has chosen to deploy staff in the streets to carry out these tactics.

The Sheriff’s Department’s failure to provide incarcerated people consistent access to their attorneys as well as transportation to court have also contributed to the increased jail population since these failures delay criminal proceedings.

The city must address the root causes of crime, rather than pouring more money into the over $1 billion we already spend on law enforcement. Incarceration destabilizes communities, drains resources away from more effective community-based solutions , and disproportionately harms Black and brown communities. Taxpayer funds would be far better spent on long-term investments in underserved communities, mental health and substance use treatment, job training and educational opportunities, which are all proven solutions for true crime prevention.”

Source: NBC Bay Area

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