Tipping point - Page 2

Battle for a Police Commission appointment reflects ongoing problems in the department


Turman made an equally impassioned — if less stridently reformist-sounding — speech. "Why would we allow an officer to enter a home, regardless of the master key rule, which I'm not a fan of?" Turman asked. He also said Tasers are dangerous weapons with unintended consequences. "I fear communities of color will suffer more from Taser use."

Waggoner's supporters noted that their candidate has more than 15 years of police accountability experience. Turman's supporters vouched for his integrity, maturity, ability to build consensus, and "belief in strategically serving his community."

In the end, Sups. Sean Elsbernd and Mark Farrell voted for Turman, while Rules Committee Chair Sup. Jane Kim voted for Waggoner.

That means Turman's name has been forwarded to the full board with a recommendation. But because the Rules Committee interviewed all the candidates, the board can still appoint any of them.

At the Rules Committee, Sup. Scott Wiener voiced support for Turman. And Board President David Chiu recently told the Guardian that he has known Turman for years, has worked with him professionally, and will vote for him. "I found him to be fair, thoughtful, and compassionate," Chiu said, noting that he believes the role of the commission is "to provide oversight and set policy."

Sup. David Campos, one of the solid progressive votes on the board and a longtime Milk Club member, believes Waggoner would make an excellent commissioner but is a friend of Turman, and believes he'll be a strong voice for reform. "Sean [Elsbernd] and Mark [Farrell] could be in for a big surprise if Julius gets appointed," Campos mused shortly after Elsbernd and Farrell voted for Turman.

Campos recalled how he and Turman started working at the same firm years ago. "So I got to know him well," he said, adding he is "like a family member.

"By virtue of his involvement with Alice, some folks think Julius will be a certain way," Campos added. "But I believe he'll take a progressive point of view on the issues. He has both the knowledge and the experience with the police, he understand the important role that police oversight and the Police Commission play in making the SFPD accountable."

Kim told us that she primarily voted for Waggoner because she knows him the best, and not out of concern that Turman wouldn't do a good job. "I'm more familiar with David and that's what tipped the scale," Kim said. "It's great to have two strong LGBT attorneys who have a clear understanding of public safety issues, the law, and are advocates for the community."

But Debra Walker, who ran against Kim last November, steadfastly supports Waggoner. "Julius has been active in the Alice B. Toklas club for a while, he's a prosecutor, while David is more of a citizen's defense attorney," she said.

Turman continues to be dogged by reports of domestic violence, thanks to a lawsuit that Turman's former domestic partner Philip Horne filed in March 2006 alleging that Turman came into his house when he was sleeping on New Year's Day 2006 and tried to strangle him.

Horne claimed he "was terrified that the lack of air supply would cause him to pass out and potentially die at the hands of such a jealous and unmerciful former lover." He alleged he was able to calm Turman down only to see him get enraged again and punch Horne in the face seven to 10 times. When Horne decided he needed to go to the emergency room, the complaint states, Turman grabbed his phone and keys saying, "If you leave, you'll never see the cats (alive) again," and "I will report you to the state bar."

Horne claimed he ran outside screaming for help and that when SFPD arrived, they arrested Turman for domestic violence and called an ambulance for Horne.