San Francisco Police Respond To Standoff With Bean Bag Rounds & Flash Bangs, Instead Of Bullets

On Wednesday evening, the San Francisco Police Department responded to a standoff and deployed bean bag and flash bang rounds to end the three-and-a-half hour incident with a suspect, according to KTVU. Police spokeswoman Officer Giselle Talkoff said the incident was reported shortly after 2 p.m. in San Francisco's Tenderloin district, at which point police responded to a call about a potentially armed man in the area. The standoff came to an end at around 5:45 p.m., after SFPD officers deployed bean bag and flash bang rounds, as well as rubber bullets, to prevent the suspect from escaping.

The suspect's gun has reportedly been recovered, and he has been taken into custody, where he is being treated by medical personnel. Footage from KTVU and Sky Fox showed a black man lying on the ground, with a number of police officers at the scene. SFPD Officer Grace Gatpandan addressed the media before 4 p.m., while the standoff was still taking place, to say that SFPD's "goal is not to use any force. Officers will stay on the scene as long as possible to take this person into custody."

A witness at the scene named Teshawn Loggins told ABC7 that the suspect was his cousin, and that he had mental health issues. The standoff reportedly began when police approached the suspect and asked him to stop and show his hands, but he did not comply, so an officer fired a bean bang round at him. The suspect subsequently remained on the ground for several hours, and was held at gunpoint by SFPD officers.

This incident comes a day after the shooting of another black man, Alton Sterling, by Baton Rouge, Louisiana police officers. The SFPD incident, however, did not end in a fatality, and bean bag and flash bang rounds were used instead of bullets. This standoff also comes a few months after hunger strikers in San Francisco protested reported police brutality toward black and Latinx populations in the city. One of the strikers' demands was met when Police Chief Greg Suhr resigned in May after the fatal police shooting of a woman.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, as well as Acting Police Chief Toney Chaplin, have both issued statements on the incident. Lee thanked SFPD officers for "the peaceful resolution to the standoff," for their "de-escalation tactics, patience and restraint," and for putting "the sanctity of life at the center of this confrontation." Lee also praised Chaplin "for his leadership during the tense negotiations with this armed man."

Chaplin, meanwhile, said that the suspect had multiple rounds of ammunition and had wanted police to kill him, but Chaplin said he prioritized keeping the man alive.

The sanctity of human life above all. We would have stayed out here until tomorrow if we absolutely had to. We were going to give this guy as much time as he need and we needed to make sure that we did not have to result to lethal force unless we absolutely had to.

While many, like the mayor, praised Chaplin for his actions, others were not completely satisfied.