On the other hand, Harris doesn't seem to understand that beat cops want to hear outrage from her. At times, she sounds as if she is angrier at her critics than at the shooter.
Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein won a standing ovation at Espinoza's funeral when she proclaimed that California voters reinstated the death penalty for cases such as this. Seeking life without parole instead of an execution doesn't cut it, or as Chief Fong wrote: "Our sense of justice cries out for this."
It's true, Bay Area juries don't seem to share the fury expressed by Feinstein and Fong. Like Harris, many San Franciscans are more interested in maintaining their purity by rejecting capital punishment than making S.F. cops feel that the public appreciates the risks they assume on the job.
Why is the death penalty appropriate when a police officer is killed? As Alameda prosecutor Anderson argued, the killing of a cop warrants extra outrage because "That's a class of people that makes society function." Hurt them, and you also hurt the city.
Of course, Anderson added, in San Francisco, cops are not "regarded as first-class citizens."
If residents choose to undervalue what SFPD officers do, it would be nice if the officers at least felt they had the unequivocal backing of city government.
Harris says she won't back down. She sees cops who appreciate the work she has done to increase prosecutions. Unlike her predecessor, she notes, she takes drug offenses seriously -- which should count for something. "At some point, everyone is just going to have to agree to disagree and move forward because we've got a lot of work to do," said Harris.
Former Mayor Jordan had another take: "It shows courage to change your mind when you have extenuating circumstances like this. Do the right thing."
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