Election Section

ACLU: S.F. police not addressing racial profiling

Daily Planet Wire Service
Tuesday October 08, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO – The American Civil Liberties Union charged Monday that San Francisco’s police department has done little to follow up on statistics showing that racial profiling may be a problem in the city.  

“The pattern of delay, deny, explain, and delay some more, has been the department’s consistent response to this issue,’’ wrote ACLU attorney Mark Schlosberg in his new report titled “A Department in Denial.’’  

After analyzing the police department’s data and finding that black motorists who are stopped by police are 3.3 times more likely to be searched than white drivers are – but less likely to subsequently demonstrate any “evidence of criminality’’ – Schlosberg said he met twice with police Chief Earl Sanders in June.  

But a follow-up report that Sanders promised within 90 days never materialized, according to the ACLU attorney. 

Monday a police spokesman said he was aware of the ACLU’s allegations but did not have a comment to make at this time.  

In May, Sanders, who soon afterward became San Francisco’s first black police chief, said he personally has not received many complaints in recent years about racial insensitivity and has made it his business to hand out his telephone number to minority community members. He acknowledged the issue is “extremely important’’ to people of color.  

Sanders also said racial profiling is against the department’s policies at that time.  

But the ACLU said the department needs to come up with a clear definition of what racial profiling is, as well as enact sanctions against officers and supervisors who engage in such discriminatory treatment and hire an independent auditor to monitor the situation.  

“This report clearly shows that the San Francisco Police Department is failing to take the issue of racial profiling seriously and is not complying with basic directives of the Police Commission that were mandated over three years ago. San Francisco deserves better,’’ said Schlosberg.  

The ACLU analysis, which covers a year’s worth of data from July 1, 2001 through June 30, 2002, also found greater rates of searches among Hispanic motorists than whites. Although Hispanics were 2.6 times more likely to be searched, they also were less likely to later indicate “evidence of criminality’’ than white were.