san francisco former police chief

DOJ: San Francisco Police Have 'Institutionalized Bias'

A report released yesterday by the Department of Justice found that San Francisco police officers disproportionally use force against African Americans more often than against other racial groups.

The 432-page “Collaborative Reform Initiative” report with its 272 recommendations for reform was issued in response to Mayor Ed Lee’s request after Mario Woods, an African American, was shot at least 21 times by police in 2015.

“This report makes clear the significant challenges that lie ahead for the police department and the city,” Ronald Davis, director of the Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services Department, said in a statement. “More than 90 findings outlined in the report reflect key operational deficiencies in the police department.”

During DOJ’s six months of research, officials reviewed 548 use-of-force cases between May 2013 and May 2016 and found that 37% of the people whom city police used force against were African American, a larger percentage than for any other ethnic group. Nine of the 11 people who were killed during use-of-force incidents in that time were people of color.

This report comes at a time when the San Francisco Police Department is dealing with several incidents of officers sending racist texts and using racial slurs when referring to minorities.

Just last year, 17 officers were found to have sent racist texts “of such extreme bias” that the police chief questioned whether they should serve on the force at all.

Then in May of this year, Police Chief Greg Suhr resigned at the mayor’s request just hours after one of his officers shot and killed an unarmed black woman.

Other key findings of the report include:

  • The department did not properly investigate officer use-of-force incidents.
  • The department does not keep “complete and consistent officer-involved shooting files,” and generally had outdated information technology systems and tools to identify patterns of misconduct.
  • Instead of submitting information to a searchable digital database, San Francisco police officers write their use-of-force reports in paper logs.
  • The department was not transparent about officer discipline, completing only one investigation into the deadly use of force during the three-year period.
  • An analysis of 500 use-of-force incidents showed city police officers properly categorized the type of force used on only five occasions.

While the Police Department agreed to accept and implement the report’s every recommendation, the findings are not binding like those issued in Ferguson, Mo. And Cleveland, Oh. 


Photo: "Police-Chief-Greg-Suhr by Alex Crook" by San Francisco Foghorn is licensed under CC BY 2.0 / Cropped from original

Posted in General News

Tags: federal law enforcement, DOJ, racial profiling, state law enforcement


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