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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Black San Franciscans Face High Rates of Bullshit Arrests

Posted By on Wed, Apr 29, 2015 at 2:37 PM

click to enlarge A KATZ / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
  • a katz /

African Americans are cited for resisting arrest eight times more frequently than white people in San Francisco, The San Francisco Chronicle reports

The Chron cites data from court records showing that there have been 9,633 cases of police citing people for resisting arrest without charging them with a felony since January 2010. Despite making up just 6% of San Francisco's population, African Americans account for 45% of those cases. 

Getting arrested for resisting arrest is frequently bullshit, as San Franciscans saw when public defender Jami Tillotson was arrested at the Hall of Justice while she was questioning police officers who were attempting to question one of her clients. Video of the incident showed a police officer telling Tillotson, who was not being arrested at the time, "If you continue to do this, I will arrest you for resisting arrest." 

Per the Chronicle
Critics say resisting-arrest charges can be used to justify excessive police force by placing blame on the suspect. They can also elevate routine interactions from the mundane to the criminal. Suspects can be convicted of resisting arrest, punishable by up to a year in jail and up to a $1,000 fine, even when the underlying offense is minor or nonexistent.
The extreme disparity between how this kind of arbitrary arrest is applied to black versus white San Franciscans is just the latest reminder that the racial bias in policing under scrutiny in Baltimore, Ferguson, and other parts of the country, is very much present in San Francisco as well. 

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About The Author

Julia Carrie Wong

Julia Carrie Wong's work has appeared in numerous local and national titles including 48hills, Salon, In These Times, The Nation, and The New Yorker.

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