San Francisco Police Commission Meeting 6/9/2021 Summary

The San Francisco Police Commission oversees the policy, top leadership and aspects of budget decisions of the San Francisco Police Department. The Board of Supervisors, which appoints some of the commissioners, ultimately controls the budget of the department. I live tweet meetings at #sfpolicecommission, along with a few other dedicated watchdogs. Below is a high-level summary of the most recent meeting. Any factual mistakes are my own.

6/9/2021 Meeting Documents 

Can Training Reduce Police Violence?

Last night, the SFPD presented its 2020 Annual Report on its Crisis Intervention Team program, which is designed to help officers learn how to slow down and make better decisions that ultimately result in fewer people hurt or killed. The program is specifically focused on the 50K calls the department gets every year for people in mental crisis. While there's probably more to unpack, the two screen grabs below tell you everything you need to know about the program to date. Black people in San Francisco are still more than 10x as likely as white people to be subject to use of force and arrest in this city, and that number hasn't budged since 2016. Also, why is SFPD handling these mental health crises calls in the first place?

Community Voices Tell SFPD How to Stop Overpolicing/Killing Black San Franciscans

Last week, the SFPD presented its Q4 2020 96A report, which is a lot of acronyms to say how policing is impacting San Franciscans by race and other demographics. I was only able to watch the presentation and part of the discussion after, so I didn't write a summary afterwards. Briefly, though, the main two takeaways were 1) persistent and unacceptable racial disparities, with Black San Franciscans experiencing wildly disproportionate overpolicing and harm. And 2) No sense of urgency and willingness from SFPD to try anything new to zero out the disparity; their presentation was essentially the leftovers in their fridge.

Last night's meeting, then, was the community counterpoint to that underwhelming presentation. The Department of Police Accountability arranged for community and peer voices to present our own recommendations--beyond completion of the 272 overdue Department of Justice recommendations--to end the unacceptable disparity. It was solid gold. Tons of great ideas, freely given. It is especially telling that many community commenters who have been at this for a long time and have good understanding of the issue, like Dante King, Wealth & Disparities in the Black Community, etc, have come up independently with some of the same feedback.  Specifically, that consequences are necessary for bad behavior (especially repeat bad behavior). There is a great deal of emphasis on meaningful consequences versus just "training" in these recommendations.

Unfortunately, Chief Scott did not appear to be listening closely to the presentations, and avoided committing to anything, but hopefully the Police Commission will get serious about forcing some of these changes anyway, asap. As John Crew said, it is a choice. The SFPD has chosen to continue to find every opportunity to target Black San Franciscans despite nominally pursuing a reform agenda over the last few decades. It can also choose to stop.

Before you go, take action! Volunteer for/donate to Wealth and Disparities In The Black Community, founded and led by Phelicia Jones. WDBC has been working on police reform and justice for victims of police violence since the SFPD murdered Mario Woods back in 2015.

Previous SF Police Commission Meeting*

* There was a meeting on June 2, 2021 that I was not able to cover.