Miyamoto and jail abuse


A new video produced by lawyer Ben Rosefeld includes disturbing footage of deputy sheriffs under the supervision of Paul Miyamoto using excessive force on peaceful protesters. It reflects charges in a 2007 lawsuit against the city -- and evidence collected in that case shows that Miyamoto, now a captain in the department and a candidate for sheriff, was an active participant in the alleged misconduct.

The lawsuit is a result of a protest that took place in June, 2004, when activists were demonstrating against a biotech conference in the city. Protesters dressed as mutant animals marched through the streets, and 17 were arrested and taken to the county jail.

The protesters declined to give their names -- and at some point, sheriff’s deputies were directed to remove them from a holding cell.
As the video -- taken by the Sheriff’s Department and released as part of the lawsuit -- shows, the deputies used physical force to pull the protesters out of the cell. The protesters were holding on to each other -- and in some cases, the level of force used certainly appears excessive.

Remember: These were nonviolent activists who never threatened the deputies or gave any sign that they were dangerous.

Miyamoto, then a sergeant, both supervised and participated in the removal. In a legal document responding to questions from Rosenfeld, who represented the protesters, Miyamoto said that he, along with another sergeant, had developed the extraction plan and “became physically involved in the cell extractions on more than one occasion.”

I called Miyamoto and sent him a copy of the video. He told me that he was, indeed, involved and said the video was “a fair representation” of what happened.

“I stand by out decision that night,” he told me, saying he didn’t see anything in the video that bothered him or that was inappropriate.

“Our job was to get them out individually, and we took great pains not to harm anybody,” he said.

The lawsuit charged that some of the protesters were seriously injured during the extraction. It was settled when the city agreed to pay $25,000.

Sup. Ross Mirkarimi, who is running for sheriff, told me that the video was, indeed, disturbing. “I think it speaks for itself,” he said, adding that he didn’t think the tactics were appropriate.

“This is why we need an independent sheriff who isn’t connected to the Deputy Sheriff’s Association,” he said.


It is highly disingenuous for you to claim there is any substance to these allegations, especially sicne you can't even name those who are making these interestly-times claims.

Tim, congratulations on keeping your 100% record intact of focusing entirely on dirt, and ignoring the issues, during this election cycle. Is there no depth you won't stoop to?

Posted by Anonymous on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 12:06 pm

Right on, I can't believe that anyone would call that excessive force. Tim has to be one of the biggest wimps I ever heard of. I thought those cops were handling those screaming brats with kid gloves.

Posted by Guestoldmanmike on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 4:21 pm

for about five minutes, he'd be screaming for the help of a few SFSD heavies to bail out his wimpy journalistic backside.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 4:40 pm

They only started screaming when they started getting dragged and squashed with those shields. I guess it's true that they could have pepper sprayed them and thrown stun grenades but it was a small room...

Posted by Guest on Nov. 05, 2011 @ 4:58 pm

By posting this video Tim Redmond has become a smut peddler of political pornagraphy. False Allegations. False Issue. Joke reporter. Fraud Newspaper.

Check out this expose on Redmond's inability to report:


Guardian's Tim Redmond Didn't Let the Facts Get In the Way of His Story

"Redmond did no reporting, and has no facts to support his conclusions"

I'm sure he couldn't get into Jornalsim School, but he most certainly would flunk out if he did.

Posted by Karin Cook on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 12:43 pm

1. so I could read in the paper about how he is the first minority sheriff in the city,
2. too strike another blow against establishment whites

Posted by matlock on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 12:52 pm

Bering in mind there is no majority in san francisco.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 1:21 pm

Just hope he doesn't strike a blow against your skull with his baton!

Posted by Greg on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 1:22 pm
Posted by matlock on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 2:49 pm

He's now attacking the hopelessly liberal Quan while supporting rioters throwing rocks and bottles at cops.

Hard to see how he's going to get out of this.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 2:56 pm

I"m about to pee my pants!

Posted by matlock on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 3:08 pm

progressives is an opportunist.

What works this minute is best.

Quans uselessness isn't that bad, according to them, even though across the US republican mayors have not screwed the pooch like Quan ever did.

Greg and all the Steve Jones/Tim Redmond progressives are about getting over, it is not about a coherent world view, its about telling you how to live.

Posted by matlock on Nov. 05, 2011 @ 2:42 am

Sheriff Hennessey, one of those annoying white guys, was the most progressive sheriff any city in this country. Another blow against whatever...

Posted by Guest on Nov. 05, 2011 @ 4:55 pm

Wow. I just wish this had come out earlier. How anyone with a conscience can vote for this guy after seeing this video, I do not know. Having participated in Occupy, as well as protests in the past, I am literally scared for my safety, and for the safety of my fellow citizens after watching this.

And having encountered Cunnie, I think that guy is capable of even worse.

I'd been on the fence about this race for a long time... too long. And it's because of the prospect of losing D5. But I finally made up my mind within the last 24 hours, and I wrote the following just about an hour before I saw this sickening video. I think that what I said is very pertinent in light of the video, so it bears repeating:

"And by the way, I think we have enough of a shot to beat Lee, that I'm willing to take the risk of losing D5 and voting for Ross for Sheriff. We could have a lot of people going through our jails in the next few months if the cops decide to crack down on Occupy, and Ross is the *only* candidate we can feel safe with. Cunnie is going to be the runner-up here, and he'll be cracking skulls with gusto (not that Miyamoto is much better, if at all). Think the sheriffs won't be out there? Think again. If something big goes down, the SFPD will call in assistance from every agency, like they did in Oakland. Just ask Occupy Oakland, and they'll tell you that Alameda County Sheriffs were worse than OPD. The only reason we haven't seen brutality from the SF Sheriffs department is that Hennessy has been at the helm for 30 years. And the only candidate who will carry on Hennessy's legacy is well... the only candidate who Hennessy has endorsed.

And that would be Ross. "

Posted by Greg on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 12:54 pm

Well said, and as we can see,even Hennessey has had a hard time keeping these guys in their place. If you think this is mild, there is plenty more where that came from! Some of it covered by protective orders and the rest by the police officer's bill of rights. But rest assured, as sure as Miaymoto's thugs will severely beat ordinary non violent inmates if they get the chance, there are many more incidents like this involving Miaymoto that would shock your conscience. He is not Mr. squeaky clean.No even close -

Posted by JailWatch on Nov. 05, 2011 @ 11:18 pm

More filth from the SF Guardian to prop up its boy Ross ("Vote Chrissy Keiffer for Congress!") Mirkarimi.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 1:10 pm

Why didn't you ask Ross Mirkarimi how he would have handled the situation if he was sheriff? And this incident happened under Sheriff Hennessy's watch. The SFBG loves Hennessy. Why isn't that point made?

Posted by The Commish on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 1:53 pm

All the tactics were approved and ordered by Hennessey. These folks were a minority of troublemakers and were not peaceful. The thousands of peaceful ones acted like adults - not tantrum prone toddlers. The lawsuit would have been thrown out in a hot minute as would the hired gun lawyer. The settlement amount is about a day of court costs. Hence lawyer Ben taking the money and running. Sfbg and Ross know this and per usual don't have the integrity to care.

Posted by Jack on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 1:53 pm

that Ross would have been cool with this. If anything, the risk is greater if a LE department is run by someone who has no experience in LE.

Posted by Anonymous on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 2:18 pm

that water approves of Paul Miyamoto's costly and violent ways.

Simple Fox News logic folks!

Posted by matlock on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 2:55 pm

This was done while Hennessey was sheriff. As usual the City Attorney settled a no where lawsuit. $25k for more than 15 people after the minimum1/3 attorney's fee that would be about $1100 per person. That wouldn't even cover a trip to the ER if these people had injuries. Putting a female protestor in a wheelchair to move her...excessive force. Ross is pandering to what he believes is his base. Still doing the all cops are bad. That's ridiculous. Sheriff Hennessey promoted this man twice after this incident. He put him in charge of training all staff and conducting all internal affairs for the department. If Ross's belief is correct that would mean Sheriff Hennessey not only accepts the abuse of citizens but rewards it.

That is insulting to Sheriff Hennessey and his legacy.

Posted by Hennessey Faithful on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 6:29 pm

The entire race for Sheriff is beyond belief. What have we got? Two ugly flavors of thug and a supervisor who can't stop braggin about being # 1 in his academy class, but has never been hands on the stuff. Maybe Hennessy could grandfather in, but those days are over now. Rossome is no more.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 7:10 pm

Do you know what Hennessey did before he was elected? Was he a sheriff? No. Did he have LE experience? No.

He was an ACLU attorney. And he turned out all right.

I'll take the supervisor who was #1 in his Police Academy class, over the two flavors of thug.

Posted by Greg on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 8:10 pm

Are you frigging kidding me? You call this journalism? This is a completely disingenous, misleading, and distorted story and video. I know you are stumping for Ross, but no political candidate warrants this type of hack journalism. Please, you can do better than this. You should be ashamed.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 8:09 pm

Well, well well. Finally the true colors of mans campaign are coming to light. If look back at my posts from months ago you will see that I told you this guy is a cowboy who nurtures a culture of abuse in all the jails he has worked. If it was not for the peace officers bill of rights Hennessey could and hopefully would, tell us what this guy is really like. Yes these were a bunch of spoiled smelly white kids - but they were not dangerous and they were not a threat. Best practice dictates that you wait them out not go ballistic and drag them out of the cell.

Posted by Jailwatch on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 8:32 pm

Well said. I just saw this article- but earlier I was at the farmers market and there were four or five scary looking thuggish guys holding banners for this guy. Makes sense that these were his supports after seeing this video. I think that all law enforcement should be required to have at least a bachelors degree before they are allowed to deal with the public. Maybe that way they wold understand what freedom of speech and freedom of assembly means -

Posted by Single Mom on Nov. 05, 2011 @ 1:14 pm

These folks were already arrested for failure to disperse. Then they refused to leave the county jail. They were being escorted out the front door so they could vandalize more cars and buildings. Which they did for three more days.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 06, 2011 @ 11:19 am

Don't bother asking.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 06, 2011 @ 11:49 am

they did the same thing in people's park. 45 years later they are still there.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 06, 2011 @ 6:53 pm

The SFBG really should remove this article. It's so bad, it's embarrassing.

The videos that Adachi has publicized show police misconduct. The video in this article appears to show a bunch of howling kids throwing a tantrum. (Though it makes Greg "scared for his safety.") Come on.

Posted by The Commish on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 8:55 pm

Poorly disguised too. The Guardian should be forced to admit it's colluding with the campaigns of Avalos and Mirkarimi - which would be a violation of journalistic ethics as well as a probable violation of campaign disclosure requirements.

Posted by guest on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 9:40 pm


That's the entire back story here. You've got a candidate (believe you only endorsed one, right?) who is known by EVERYONE to be the most abusive boss of any member of the Board of Supervisors. Let's see you get one single former legislative aide stand forward and deny that they were harshly verbally abused by Mirkarimi.

Do it.

Can't do it cause they won't lie. Oh yeah, he abused some really good people. People who won't lie. Even for a former boss.

Hey, Ross Mirkarimi is the worst bully supe since Kevin Shelley who broke his aide, Alex Clemens' arm and Clemens won't complain about it to this day.

So, you push this smear video which only shows these guys doing their job in the hopes that people do not expose Ross Mirkarimi for the narcissistic bully that he is?

The saddest thing was seeing Ben Rosenfeld's name attached to this.

Y'all really don't have any core values do you?

go Niners!


Posted by h. brown on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 10:44 pm

I would rather have a sheriff that yell at his staff for not doing thier job then one that abuses the inmates. Come on H. Brown get a grip. You are better than this.

Posted by Former Inmate on Nov. 05, 2011 @ 1:18 pm

You are comparing the sheriffs department employees with the Nazis? The same Nazis that crucified, burned, skinned, shot, starved, experimented on, and raped millions of Jews? Mirkarimi is Iranian after all. They hate Jews. Better think twice before you vote for that guy.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 06, 2011 @ 11:25 am

"They" hate the Jews... oh lord. When you're that much of a racist, nothing I say is going to get through to you.

But I do want to state something that should make your head spin a little bit... Mirkarimi is half Iranian. He's Jewish on his mother's side. So do you think his Jewish half hates his Iranian half... or is it vice versa?

Posted by Greg on Nov. 06, 2011 @ 11:48 am

You're right. Nothing you say will get through to me. I'm just having fun keeping you busy on the Internet. We are all the same, though. You hate my guy, I hate your guy. Nothing will change our opinions. It's what makes things fun the last two days. I can post the most outrageous nonsense and you will keep responding.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 06, 2011 @ 1:26 pm

Now I see why the Guardian, the Democratic Party, and just about every other liberal and progressive group only endorsed Mirkarimi. There IS no other choice.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2011 @ 11:05 pm

Hear Hear

Posted by Former Inmate on Nov. 05, 2011 @ 1:19 pm

Whatever happenned to the days of real journalism? Get your facts right, witnesses right and most of all your story right.

The only thing this shows is that the Ross/SFBG partnership could not find anything negative on Miyamoto. This is such an obvious & sorry attempt....FAIL

FACT: Your god/Ross hired Former Deputy Ed Palmer as his campaign driver. He was fired for torturing a gay inmate, tying him up and writing derogatory gay insults on him. Palmer was investigated and fired by Capt. Paul Miyamoto. Great hiring skills Ross!

FACT: Your god/Ross and BFF It's on like donkey kong Daly were Hennessey's Cheerleading Duo to nab the interim mayor gig that Ed Lee snatched. (hmmmm, smells like a backroom deal)

FACT: your article is bias & no matter what no one will come between the SFBG and their god/Ross

FACT: Hiring a Gay Bashing Fired Deputy as your campain driver makes your god/Ross well...hmmm.. He did tell Hennessey that he was unaware of the guy's past.

SFBG readers, this is not journalism...SFBG is just another political brochure for their unqualified candidate for sheriff. Maybe your Gay Bashing friend needs his job back Ross, oh wait..ya didn't know...wink !

Posted by Promoted by Hennessey four times, Miyamoto on Nov. 05, 2011 @ 1:16 am

Bottom line is this is abuse. It may have been by the rules but the rules need to be changed. It is not the way I want my tax dollars spent.

Posted by SF CITIZEN on Nov. 05, 2011 @ 1:23 pm

You would prefer that your tax dollars are spent on housing, clothing and feeding these idiots that wouldn't leave the jail. On overtime to follow these morons around town while they vandalize hardworking people's cars and city buildings?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 06, 2011 @ 11:33 am

I response to this response. You are giving Miyamoto a bad name and you are blaming this video on Mirkarimi. How absurd and you need to grow up. Any reasonable person could see they were a little heavy handed but in defense of them the youngsters were very resistant. You can't have it both ways. They had to remove them but the point is this is not the kind of "experience" we need to run the SFSD. We need someone that understands the political system and who can navigate the funding streams, and when necessary address deputy conduct.

Your screen name is very annoying because it doesn't get to the point. sheriff Hennessey promoted Miyamoto 4 times but he did NOT endorse him because he didn't feel that he had the right skill sets to run this department at this time. I asked Sheriff Hennessey and he addressed a crowd at Medjool restaurant to tell everyone who attended the Hennessey's Choice event that he has been working with Ross for over 3 years so all the nonsense about promotions equaling experience to be the next sheriff of SF is pure fiction!!

Posted by Honest evaluation of the content on Nov. 05, 2011 @ 2:51 pm

This is the biggest scam ever. Why didn't this so called journalist ask Chris Cunnie what he would have done. This is planned by Ross Mirkarimi, because he knows he can't get any second place votes and Paul Miyamoto is going to win. Ross's little friend Nick in prisoner legal services has been spreading this video around.

This rag of a paper would rather endorse a politician so he can stay on the city gravy train than an experienced Captain who has done the job for 15 years. Besides, Sheriff Hennessey authorized the use of force and had Internal Affairs on site to video tape.

Posted by Guest Voter on Nov. 05, 2011 @ 6:11 am

Who is Ross Mirkarimi sleeping with at the Bay Guardian?

This guy is a sleaze. He parks his blue Jeep in handicap zones.

He is abusive to his staff and arrogant beyond belief.

Officer Kevin Lee has "criminal" dirt on Ross. He was talked out of running for Sheriff and then received a phone call with three progressive politicians on the phone. They threatened him to keep his mouth shut about what he knows about Ross. Why does someone not do a real investigative story and visit Officer Lee at Northern station. Or will this rag continue to turn a blind eye to Ross's misadventures, because he is progressive?

Posted by Guest Voter on Nov. 05, 2011 @ 6:16 am

Ross Mirkarimi has a driver who is an ex deputy named Edwin Palma. This guy has introduced Ross at events and driven him all over town. This guy was fired by Sheriff Hennessey for placing duct tape over the mouths of gay inmates. He then took it a step further and wrote the words "I love c-ck" on the duct tape with a black marker. Good ole Bay Guardian, stop being a "Progressive Good Ole Boy." Do your homework.

So Miyamoto can follow Hennessey's orders on video tape and it's excessive force? Please. Miyamoto is head and shoulders above Ross in integrity.

Posted by GuestVoter on Nov. 05, 2011 @ 6:37 am

Where is the abuse in this video? I see non-compliant, passive resisters being removed from a holding cell. One had the luxury of being placed in a wheelchair. These are all use of force tecniques approved by Sheriff Michael Hennessey. This removal was approved by Sheriff Michael Hennessey. Sheriff Hennessey made sure this incident was videotaped, like all other extractions. Sheriff Hennessey has a track record of firing employees who abuse thier color of authority, one just a month ago. Captain Paul Miyamoto was promoted to Lieutenant soon after this incident, later, promoted to Captain.

Sheriff Michael Hennessey has intrusted Captain Paul Miyamoto with command of the Training Unit, Institutional Police Unit at San Francisco General Hospital, The Emegency Services Unit, Special Reponse Team, County Jail #5 (the flagship programs facility), Investigative Services Unit, and Internal Affairs. While in charge of Internal Affairs, Captain Paul Miyamoto advised Sheriff Michael Hennessey to terminate Deputy Edwin Palma for his grotesque, criminal abuse of gay inmates. Sheriff Hennessey allowed Deputy Palma to quit the department. Former Deputy Palma is now helping Ross Mirkarimi with his campaign. Fred Ponomarenko, who is also a former Deputy, and was terminated by the Department of Justice for abuse of color of authority, is also helping Mirkarimi with his campaign.

In the end, people are going to vote for who they want no matter what is said in this paper or any other. Just get the correct facts before you do.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 05, 2011 @ 7:51 am

It seems to me that the Miyamoto campaign is really upset that this video of Miyamoto "at work" came out, so they're lashing out at anything and everything they can... the Guardian, the reporters who published it, Mike Hennessey, and any voter like myself who's genuinely upset over it.

First of all, guys, learn to coordinate your attacks with a coherent message. Am I an apologist for Quan, or am I attacking her? Which is it? In truth, it's neither. I think if you go back to see what I wrote, I take a pretty nuanced view. The police attack was a terrible decision, but she didn't order the tear gas cannister being fired into Olsen's face. First and foremost, that brutal crime was the fault of the perpetrator -the cop. Her subsequent gestures were more encouraging, but I want to know whether she ordered the second assault the other night, or whether that was a spontaneous decision on the part of the cops. The raid on the occupied building was the wrong action at the wrong time, and it escalated tensions at a time when tensions were de-escalating.

I wanted to give Quan the benefit of the doubt, because I think she is struggling to do the right thing in a difficult situation. But she needs to provide some clear leadership, and soon, because this approach isn't winning her friends on any side. If she continues in this vein, she's going to alienate the Occupy movement, as well as the majority of Oaklanders who support it. And there's nothing she can do to win over the moneyed elite, who will opportunistically seize on any weakness to destroy her. And I do find that last part disturbing -a lot of people who don't give a damn about police brutality are seizing upon this to try to settle scores with a mayor and an electorate that didn't vote their way for once. They call for her head, but tellingly, say nothing (but for occasional praise) about the cop who fired a tear gas cannister directly into the face of a human being.

But enough about Quan. This isn't about Quan, or me, or the reporters, or Hennessey for that matter. Hennessey might well have ordered the clearing of the cell, but I'm sure he didn't tell Miyamoto to be that sadistic about it. A trained officer should be able to clear a cell without being sadistic. This video is just sickening, and Miyamoto supporters are scrambling to do damage control because ordinary people are going to find it as disturbing as I did. I don't think it's going to work. Your guy's going to come in third.

Posted by Greg on Nov. 05, 2011 @ 8:24 am

Where is the sadistic part? How about the pipe bomb that was left on the City Hall steps that same morning, by those same protestors? How about the fishing lines with bolts attached that were thrown (by those same protestors) into the wheels of Police Officer's motorcycles resulting in two serious injuries on that same day? How about the thousands of dollars of property damage caused by these same protestors on that same day?

If protestors want to march and protest, more power to you. Everyone has that right as well they should. If you truly feel, though, that you have a cause, keep out the anarchists and the hired trouble makers. They give everyone a bad name.

No one is lashing out at Sheriff Hennessey. They are only saying that the sheriff has the responsibility to protect the property of San Francisco. Believe it or not, Sheriff Hennessey has given orders to break down doors, taze inmates and civilians, shoot less lethal firearms at inmates and civilians, break bones, and kill people if the situation presents itself. For you to think that Mirkarimi would handle this situation differently, you are sadly mistaken.

All law enforcement agencies, including the San Francisco Sheriff's Department, have the right to protect its staff and its facilities.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 05, 2011 @ 11:03 am


Assuming he's an undercover agent for the Chamber of Commerce on a mission to destroy the candidacies of all Progressives.

And, Tim, what are your thoughts on Ross risking the Progressive bedrock/cornerstone D-5 supe seat?

Ross has done a generally great job as the D-5 supe for the last 7 years. He's only sold out when he sees it as a way to gain another step up. I'd hope he won't take this coming Tuesday's defeat as a permanent rejection. I'd certainly support him for another office when his term in D-5 ends. As long as he can get former staffers to endorse him too. I believe in redemption as a matter of self-survival. I'm anxious to believe that Ross' relationship to his staff has evolved. If so? Ross for Assembly!

And ...

David Waggoner for D-5 supe!

Go Niners!


Posted by h. brown on Nov. 05, 2011 @ 8:50 am

You're pretty sure Adachi's going to win, right?

And Adachi's a progressive according to you, right?

So then we have nothing to fear, right?


Posted by Greg on Nov. 05, 2011 @ 10:04 am