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San Francisco to implement policy against racially biased police stops

 

 

San Francisco to implement policy against racially biased police stops
Members of the San Francisco Police Commission voted to enact a new policy aimed at curbing racially biased police stops. The new policy prohibits officers from using a list of nine minor traffic violations as a pretext to investigate other crimes, but still allows officers to issue tickets for those violations when stopping vehicles for other reasons or while investigating other crimes.  

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By Grace Marion. Bay City News.

Members of the San Francisco Police Commission voted to enact a new policy aimed at curbing the use of racially biased pretexts in arrests by the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD), according to a Friday news release from the San Francisco Public Defender's Office.  

The new policy, department general order 9.07, was subject to a public participation process that lasted more than a year and nearly an entire year of negotiation with the Police Officers Association.  

“The Police Commission's vote to restrict pretext stops is an important step toward reducing racist policing tactics in which police officers disproportionately stop and search black and brown people under the guise of policing. traffic,” said ACLU of Northern California Criminal Justice Program Director Yoel Haile.

“We will now work to ensure that SFPD implements the policy to prevent unnecessary encounters between police officers and San Francisco residents that too often escalate and end in tragedy,” he added.

The new policy prohibits officers from using a list of nine minor traffic violations as a pretext to investigate other crimes, but still allows officers to issue tickets for those violations when stopping vehicles for other reasons or while investigating other crimes.   

The nine non-priority violations include: having only one license plate visible, having an expired vehicle registration that is out of date by one year or less, failing to illuminate the rear license plate of a vehicle, driving without taillights on or operating, driving without lights rear brake lights on or operating, having objects in a vehicle's windows or hanging from the rearview mirror, failure to activate a turn signal more than 100 feet before turning, sleeping in a parked vehicle, and any Vehicle Code pedestrian violation Of California.   

There are some exceptions to this list. For example, police can still stop vehicles traveling without tail lights on or operating if it is night and vehicles traveling without rear brake lights on or working if none of the lights are on. 

Additionally, police can still stop vehicles for unsafe turns or lane changes and can stop pedestrians to prevent an imminent crash.   

The ordinance explicitly allows hanging things like air fresheners and rosaries on rearview mirrors, but objects that obstruct a driver's vision in a way that substantially increases the likelihood of an accident are not allowed and can still lead police to stop a vehicle. .   

None of the deprioritizations apply to commercial vehicles, and any vehicle can still be stopped during a traffic accident investigation.   

Other exceptions to the order include allowing police to detain a person or motor vehicle matching the description of a suspect, or suspected vehicle, involved in a serious crime where the risk of death or life-threatening injury is imminent if the suspect does not He is immediately arrested. 

Applicable felonies include, but are not limited to, murder, attempted murder, involuntary manslaughter, armed robbery, kidnapping, forcible sexual offense, and any felony committed against a child.   

SFPD's own data showed that SFPD officers stopped black people at a rate six times that of white people, searched them at a rate more than 10 times that of white people, and used force against them at a higher rate. 21 times higher than whites, according to a press release.

The order also limited SFPD officers to asking investigative questions only at vehicle stops about criminal activity when the belief that criminal activity is occurring, has occurred, or is about to occur is supported by reasonable suspicion or probable cause.  

“While voting to enact this policy limiting racially biased stops is an important step, we recognize that more work needs to be done to heal the harms inflicted on communities of color due to decades of over-policing and under-investment,” he said San Francisco Public Defender Mano Raju said in a Friday news release. 

“My office hopes to participate in the implementation of this pretext policy by informing the public of their rights. The fight for racial justice continues.”

The commission ordered the police department to implement the new policy within 90 days.  

This publication was supported in whole or part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the CaliFornia State Library. 

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Peninsula 360 Press
Peninsula 360 Presshttps://peninsula360press.com
Study of cross-cultural digital communication

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