SAN FRANCISCO — The Department of Justice found that the city’s troubled police department has “outdated use of force policies,” “lack of accountability,” and “numerous indicators of implicit and institutionalized bias against minority groups,” according to a report released Wednesday.
The scathing findings from the DOJ depict a police force with “significant deficiencies” in many areas, from its record-keeping to the ways that San Francisco police officers treat African-Americans and other people of color.
From traffic stops and searches to fatal shootings, city cops too often target black people, the report said.
The DOJ also faulted police officials for inadequate reviews of incidents where officers use force. A related problem is that the department “does not maintain complete and consistent” records about such incidents.
Bias appears to be a problem within the department’s ranks, the feds said. Female and minority recruits got fired more often than white men who’d joined the force.
The San Francisco Police Department has been plagued by embarrassing revelations that groups of officers shared racist, sexist and other inappropriate text messages. The DOJ report stated that the department is “not transparent around officer discipline” and does not sufficiently evaluate cops’ performance.
Despite the far-reaching criticism, the Department of Justice concluded with an optimistic assessment. The SFPD “is committed to making changes and working with the community,” the report said.
Mayor Ed Lee said that he is “directing the leadership of SFPD and the Police Commission to implement the DOJ’s 272 recommendations as soon as possible, and with one specific goal: Fair and just policing that treats everyone the same and places the sanctity of life above all else,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
“I wanted an unflinching, unsparing review ― and I’m glad we got it,” Police Commission President Suzy Loftus said in a statement. “The first step is to see this report as the blueprint for reform. Sustainable progress and reform is best achieved through collaboration. The Police Commission will continue to work with community members and members of the department as we implement this blueprint for reform together.”
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