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Mar 22, 2006
Focus: Civil Rights
Action Request: Read
Location: United States

A recent San Francisco Chronicle series validated claims that the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights has been making for 10 years: the San Francisco Police Department is plagued by "a culture that tolerates or rewards the use of force."

For 10 years, we've been chipping away at this culture of violence through our Bay Area PoliceWatch program. Today, we need you to help us keep it up.

Last month, the Chronicle published Use of Force: When SFPD Officers Resort to Violence. The Chronicle set up a database to track incidents of police violence — something the department has never done. What they found was shocking.

Between 2001 and 2004, San Francisco police officers were the subject of more force allegations than officers in San Jose, Oakland, San Diego and Seattle — combined. Indeed, the Chronicle reported that "force often is the first option for these officers."

Why is there so much violence in SFPD? Because the department "lags far behind many other major cities in developing an effective system for identifying problem officers. And it has failed, over and over, to take steps to get these officers off the streets." The result: problem officers stay on the force, even rising to supervisory positions, and perpetuate "a culture that tolerates or rewards the use of force."

CLICK HERE TO READ THE REPORT

We reached the very same conclusions about the SFPD — more than 10 years ago. That was when widespread community concerns prompted us to start Bay Area PoliceWatch — to document, expose and challenge police abuse.

In the intervening years, we have been a major force for change. We helped secure justice when officer Marc Andaya killed unarmed Aaron Williams. And demanded accountabilty when officer Gregory Breslin shot and killed unarmed, 17 year-old Sheila Detoy, who was not even a suspect in a crime. And supported the family when SFPD officers shot innocent bystander Vilda Curry in the street, in front of her young daughter. The list goes on.

<>Now is the time to press for a total overhaul of the City's police oversight mechanisms — and the just removal of those officers identified as repeat offenders. As the Chronicle report shows, the police department repeatedly turns a blind eye to officer violence. It's up to us to make the department address this crisis honestly. And the only way to do that is with help from you, now.

http://www.ellabakercenter.org
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Posted: Mar 22, 2006 10:48am

 

 
 
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