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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Supervisor Calls for Cops to Be More Transparent With Racial Data

Posted By on Tue, Jun 16, 2015 at 11:42 AM

click to enlarge SANDEN/FLICKR
  • Sanden/Flickr

Supervisor Malia Cohen wants to introduce more transparency in the SFPD and county sheriff’s department. According to the Chronicle, the District 10 supervisor is calling for both agencies to present public quarterly reports that list the race, age, gender, and gender identity of everyone stopped by law enforcement officials in San Francisco.

“Data and sentiment shows that women and men of color are disproportionately stopped or questioned by police,” Cohen told the Chronicle. “It is this practice that leads to situations like we have seen in Baltimore and Ferguson. This ordinance will help make sure that we are equitably policing in our city by requiring the police to publicly report stop data.”

Moreover, officers would also be required to note the date, time, and location of each stop, along with the reason and outcome. As the Chronicle notes, until 2012 San Francisco offered only four racial categories for people who had been stopped or detained by law enforcement: black, white, Asian, and other. The city has since added Hispanic to the mix.

In April, the Examiner reported on the well-known racial disparities in SFPD arrest records: Nearly half of all those arrested in the city are black, although black people comprise about six percent of the city's population. "What this number shows, in San Francisco African Americans are being arrested at one of the highest rates per capita in the country," said Public Defender Jeff Adachi.  

In March, the SFPD was embroiled in a highly publicized scandal when reports surfaced that a cadre of officers sent each other a series of racist and homophobic text messages between 2011 and 2012.

Police Chief Greg Suhr and Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi both support Cohen's proposed ordinance. 

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Jeremy Lybarger

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