Roundtable: Officer-Involved Shooting; Chargers; More Money, Less Traffic?
What happened to the San Diego cop who shot a man last year. Not much. The Chargers played defense as their Stadium receives negative reviews. Will more money ease traffic congestion in San Diego? I Mark Sauer and the Roundtable starts now. Welcome to our discussion of the week's top stories. Joining me at the K PBS Roundtable today reporter Andrew case the Voice of San Diego. David Garrick could cover city government for the San Diego Union Tribune. And my out of forces -- Voice of San Diego. An officer responsible report of a man with a knife and in seconds Amanda shot dead. He was holding a pen not a knife and the incident was captured on cameras. Weeks after the fatal shooting the officer was back on patrol with the district attorney finding the shooting justifiable. Who was the victim and where was he and how did he come to be fatally shot at the officer quick He's from ASCAP -- he is from Afghanistan. He had been in the country for a while. He was mentally ill. There was a call play saying there was a man threatening people with a knife. The officer responded and by the time he got there he saw the suspect in the alley. He saw him holding something in his hand and based on the call present it was a knife. It turned out it wasn't a knife but he shot him. Quickly, about five seconds if you watch the video. So we have the DA, the police chief in the Mayor, they fought the release of -- the relief of this video for a time. How is the finally made public? It was an intervention by the local media. Compelled the judge to release it. After the judge ruled to do so, it was released. At the time, she announced very shortly around that. That she was not going to promote charges. Now that is not necessarily that surprising. There is a pretty high bar to press criminal charges against an officer and that's for good reason. I think people can understand why that would be the case. It doesn't say what would happen administratively within the department regarding discipline or retraining or a written reprimand of some kind. And that is all stuff that happens behind the scenes. Based on California strong public record loss we never see. We never understand what's going on behind the scenes. In this case, we do. The family of the victim is suing the officer. In that civil case he sat down for a sworn deposition. That's the news this week. There were some revelations in that deposition in this wrongful death suit. I think the biggest one is that according to Mr. Browder, he not only did not receive any discipline, he didn't receive any criticism or any harsh discussion of which tactics they employed. In fact he wasn't even interview by internal affairs. There is a series of questions where the lawyer says that anyone talk to you at any time about anything that happened at any point related to the shooting and for every question his answer was no.'s annual review did not even mention it. Right after the shooting as will happen in any case, you've got homicide detective some fall. They did talk to him at the time. He had a lawyer present it in a few days later. This is separate from internal affairs and from the district attorney's investigators. His story change a little bit initially and then a few days later. They did a walk-through. The officer did a walk-through at the scene with homicide investigators. He had an attorney with him at that time. During that walk-through the homicide investigator was asking if he thought that the victim was carrying a knife or if there were any other weapons present at the scene and he said no. His lawyer immediately shut down the investigation and said we will talk about this later. And then he said when they sat down later they thought the victim had a knife in us wire feared for my life. The officer did admit he didn't follow police procedure in some ways during the confrontation. One of the things was that he didn't have his body camera on. This was not captured on his camera. It was caught on surveillance from a nearby business. At the time the city policy once you should have your camera turned on the moment you may contact. In part because of this instance they review that policy and said it's too much to us someone to turn that on at that late juncture. So now you're instructed to turn it on the moment you respond to a call. So when you're pulling up you have it on. Yes. So that was not a strict adherence to policy. So when he gets out of the car, he opens the door and stands there for a second and then steps outside of the door and that's what he's standing when he shoots him. He says in his deposition is drilled into your head during your accountant -- training at the Academy, you keep that door between you and the suspect for that extra layer of protection. So by his own statements, he did not follow that. No reprimand her performance review. None of this comes out. To demonstrate the extent to where there is a much lower bar for some sort of internal reprimand and the rest for say a criminal prosecution, also was comes up in his deposition is that 20 years ago he says this in his deposition, he was given a written reprimand by internal affairs. He was responding to a domestic violence call and he struck a man twice with his baton. I bring that up not to suggest this is a pattern of behavior were consistent with something you would expect from someone but just to say that in that instance they gave him a written reprimand and it was vague and nonspecific. It just said you did not use the right type of force. It did not enumerate the policies that have broke. It just says in our estimation this is not the right way to have handled a. So while I want to recognize that things are not always a strict matter of black and white and you might want to give law and force was indifferent to make some professional decisions on the job, internal affairs is willing to be a little bit vague and subjective. In the Cameron Park, do we know what the procedures are? Are there incentives to follow the rules or penalties if you don't? A lot of people look at those cameras as a possible determine. If the guys are not going to turn it on, do we know what the policies are quick I don't know about any written policy and terms of what the specific penalties are. It brings up a good point. There were some problems earlier and they commissioned a third-party review of the department's disciplinary policy from the police enforcement, I can't remember the name. And was commissioned by the Department of Justice. The findings of that report was specifically that there were problems in terms of when discipline was administered and when red flags were raised and following up on things like this. Basically that things were consistently falling through the cracks. And so that being the case, I think what we hear about what happened was interesting and to your point, David, you have this policy that says when you were supposed to turn the camera on. What are the consequences for not following that policy? It seems like there should be a significant penalty if you fail to follow the procedure. And you also have these officers and cameras. We also have a citizens review -- review board which relies heavily on the review board. I think that's an interesting point. The citizens review board banks policy recommendations. They do not punish particular officers. They make broad changes. That's how we avoid these incidents. They do not have subpoena power. They rely on internal affairs. So if the internal affairs review is flawed or incomplete or lacks comprehensiveness in any way, then the ability for us to make changes to citywide policy -- Maybe we should give them subpoena power. A couple of seconds left. What is the status of the case? It's hard to say in terms of [Indiscernible]. Some documents have been released in relation to basically a motion to include information months after this incident. The officer accidentally discharges weapon during a probation check and accidentally shot through a baby's crib. Luckily no one was injured occurred at the time but the civil attorneys failed to get that information included in the trial. We look for developments as we move along. The Chargers are putting up a vigorous defense of their downtown stadium/convention center expansion. It is a big task to convince two thirds of voters to back their plan. There is some analysis to help others decide. It's not surprising that the firm hired by the team paints a rosy picture. David, stoppers summarizing the proposal. I know we will get into the weeds on some of these numbers. They will raise hotel taxes up to 16.5%. They argued that that taxes been too low in San Diego. Is lower than almost any other tourist city -- tourist friendly city. That's another positive. And it would generate $1.15 billion in revenue and that was before convention center across the street from Petco Park. It would be about $650 million from the NFL team and other things. So we got the city's independent budget analyst. She says, small revenue the to say? This is where it gets to be -- the numbers and there's do not drive. I would point to that analysis is probably the most important. All of the other wins you can argue -- that have an agenda. They are clearly against raising the tax and also they prefer to expand the convention center on the waterfront. Is so you can pick on it and assume the convention center will compete against each other. Both run by the city. That seems likely be a bad assumption. Three similar facilities and the country have all failed. So they've made some good points and some bad points. You can argue the Chargers and both sides say -- Will I think she felt like a key element is does this raise revenue to pay for this project. Otherwise the big picture question is do we want to raise hotel taxes to fund. That's a question for everyone to decide. The will it be successful if we do that. You can even get to the point where you're making the decision should be doing this? If the plan will work at silly. It would raise enough money based on their assumptions but I worry about those ancillary costs. They have to move the Bashar and other things that might come up. Charges say they have a big enough push and there's enough of an increase that is covered. That based on their [Indiscernible] one of the -- We have an expert in the ID's office who has looked at all of this.. I would say that this is a lot of unknowns right now. There are lots of areas work and pay for the cost of the project. Alternatively there are also scenarios that would perhaps not have sufficient tax proceeds as contemplated. To the problem hippies cost? I think the Chargers we'll tell you where response to that they're going to sell bonds to build this project and then the increase revenue from the higher hotel. If we go to the bond market and we show them a project that doesn't pencil lab, we're not going to be able to sell bonds and we want generate enough capital. I would argue that backstop against the is whether the city's general fund, for fire police in infrastructure, whether that is fun mobile. And the Chargers say absolutely it is and. And that's true. Some of the groups of pointed out that if the city is faith with having a municipal bond default even though they're not legally obligated to do anything, arguably the city would probably cost them more money if they built the thing out. Another having trouble following the left. I have no intention of ever drive against the fund. If there is one thing of general fund money, that's the only -- Will be located On that point earlier was and will be it's got to come down to a value judgment. And what is primarily going to be will will will [Indiscernible] will and will and I can't even get to that. Is going to cost me money for firefighters, and police. How many voters do you actually think are saying it would be cool to stay with that? If I hear a sound bite on TV or something like that, they might end up voting no it's an interesting point. Will will will will will will will will all of the money would come out of the fund that would otherwise go to police and fire. I will say in about whether it is going to come down to whether you want to Chargers to stay or go. That is certainly the case that they are trying to make. And social media campaign they ran trying to blame why does Chris came want to will will will will will will think it's interesting that will end this boat is a referendum on the simple question do you want to Chargers to stay or go. I think that is increasingly the message that we will see. This is an a question about hotel taxes and hotel money. It's a question of whether you want to Chargers to stay or go. We will see if we can get to that the two thirds number. I have sent hike in sales tax doesn't sound like much but it would generate more than $300 million annually. With every community dreams of. The measure is going to raise more than $1 billion over the next 40 years. A little over 40% of that will note to public transit projects. Three-person we'll go to bike lanes and pedestrian infrastructure and things like that. We will get purple line and things like that. There won't be any highway expansions. Any bottleneck problems and things like that. And then 30% will go to local infrastructure issues. Stormwater projects and things like that. They will be giving them other options. They are also planning a clearing up some bottlenecks. For example in intersections with those trolleys and Karsay will clean that up to be a little more efficient. I found that lots of governments all over the country make that promise very frequently. It's never been shown to be true. The more space you create on Rose more people are going to use them. Even if more people are using your public transit, there are other people that will fill up that space on your road. You pointed out that they think of traffic relief differently than the rest of us. Their goal is to not make it worse. They want to keep rush-hour from 5 PM until 7 PM or something like that. And they want to keep it at that and not extended from 3 PM to 8 PM. They have acknowledged that because the region is growing and there are more people who are going to be coming here in the next 50 years that it is impossible to get fewer people on the road but they will keep you from getting worse. And when I -- most voters will not be thinking about that. 's talk about the public transit side. Even bicycles and other ways of getting around and commuting. How bad would it have to get in your research, the cost of sitting in traffic in the time before people really well go to the effort to go to an alternate of public transportation? I don't know what the exact time or price would be but you would ultimately have to put a price on congestion and he would have to see how much people are willing to pay before they go to other alternatives. And obviously having other alternatives makes a price lower and lower. And the purple line I think -- the purple line goes through San Ysidro. If this measure passes, it will be built faster. There are folks who would like to cook -- commute by trolley that they can't because the way up the structure. I feel like if your commute is extreme, if you live near the border are somewhere along that route I think this might encourage a chunk of folks to get out of their cars and it's all about incremental successes. I don't think there's a day everyone wakes up and says the going to commute. I think is slow and steady. It does give people more options. Certainly if you look at protections more people will start using public transit of this more public transit is going to places where they want to go. The thing as if he still decide to get in your car and go from point a to point B during rush hour, whether there's more public transit or not isn't necessarily going to change that in the long run. Our region is growing and so more people will get on the roads. Wouldn't the percentage of people, if we have 50% more people but there's the same number of people on the road's, theoretically we have one because those extra 50% of all en masse -- mass transit. It depends on how you think about congestion. That is not changing your commute time. But if the population of the County will increase by 50%, if they do nothing commute times will get worse. So if we do this, they will stay the same. I did want to as well as the level and vote on this for this to pass quite They would be two thirds. So was just like the charges -- Chargers. We're going to have to end it there. We will have more. That does wrap up another week of stories on the KPBS Roundtable Discussion. I buy to take my guests -- I would like to thank my guests. All of the stories we discussed today are available on our website www.KPBS.org . Thank you for joining us today on the roundtable.
The aftermath of an officer-involved shooting
In April 2015, San Diego Police officer Neal Browder shot and killed a mentally ill man in the Midway area.
Fridoon Rawshan Nehad was reportedly waving a knife, but all he had was a pen.
Ruling the shooting was justified, the district attorney declined to prosecute Browder. The public never knew what sort of discipline he received within the department — until now.
Because Nehad's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Browder, Voice of San Diego was able to obtain Browder’s sworn deposition in that suit.
In the deposition, Browder acknowledged making several mistakes, including not turning on his body-worn camera, not turning on the squad car's red and blue lights and not announcing himself with the vehicle's megaphone.
Browder was put on administrative duty but was back on patrol within a month of the shooting. He received no additional training, no reprimand and no negative comments in his annual performance review.
He was never interviewed by either the district attorney's office or the San Diego Police Department's internal affairs.
A 2015 third-party review initiated by the U.S. Department of Justice found systemic problems in the way San Diego Police disciplined officers, including inadequate supervision and not holding officers accountable.
Chargers defend stadium plan against negative reviews
There is no shortage of opinion about the viability of the Chargers plan to build a combined stadium and convention center in downtown San Diego.
The city's independent budget analyst says that November's Measure C, a proposed hotel room tax increase from 12.5 percent to 16.5 percent, would actually pay for the structure. That's provided the cost estimates are accurate, and nothing — like a sudden attack of frugality among tourists — goes wrong.
Chargers spokesman Fred Maas says the tax increase will provide a big financial cushion to cover cost increases, and the team has included contingencies, like a recession, in its modeling.
An analysis by the San Diego County Taxpayers Association is more negative. It shows "significant" and "unacceptable" risks to the city because the group believe the tax increase will bring in $406 million less than needed. The city would have to cover the shortfall or have its credit rating suffer.
Maas said that position is nonsense, and that the Chargers have absolutely no intention of spending one cent of the city's general fund.
Finally, the hotel industry has let it be known they believe the stadium/convention center would just not generate enough business to justify an increase in the hotel tax.
The Chargers have thus far persuaded local Democrats and Republicans to remain neutral.
Will more money mean less traffic?
The San Diego Association of Governments, a group representing all the cities in San Diego County, agrees on one thing at least.
In November, SANDAG wants San Diegans to vote yes on Measure A, the half-cent rise in the sales tax that will fund transportation projects and roads for the next 40 years.
Measure A is a compromise between those who want more spending on roads and highways and those who want more public transit and amenities like bikeways.
One of the group's major sales pitches is that the funds generated will be used to relieve traffic congestion, no doubt an appealing thought to commuters stuck on southbound Interstate 5 in the morning.
The question, says Voice of San Diego’s Fact Check, is how long will the relief last?
There is evidence that if roads are improved to accommodate more traffic, there will eventually be more traffic.
A University of Pennsylvania study gives three reasons for this: Drivers determine their routes based on traffic, so if there's a lot, they will find other ways to get where they want to go. If there's less, they will fill the gaps. Commercial traffic — trucks, vans, etc. — will increase if there’s more room. And more people will move here, and they, too, will fill up the roads.
But what happens if we do nothing? Improvements in congestion may simply mean that traffic won’t get as bad as it would have without them.
SANDAG said its main goal with Measure A is to reduce the number of miles the average person drives.