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Supervisor Avalos introduces resolution to review racial profiling and use of force by SFPD, upholds right to nonviolent protest

December 16, 2014

Voice your support for the resolution in public comments to Board of Supervisors Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2 p.m.

by Justice 4 Alex Nieto Committee

San Francisco’s Mission District, where Alex Nieto was well known and loved, deeply grieves his death and suspects a cover-up. Supervisor Avalos’ resolution states: “Alex Nieto was killed by SFPD officers on March 21, 2014, when he was shot at least 10 times, and nearly nine months after the shooting, none of the names of the officers involved in his killing have been released, seriously undermining trust between some members of the community and police, and leading to nearly nine months of peaceful protests about racial profiling, the police’s use of force, lack of transparency and accountability in police investigations, and demands for justice.”

San Francisco’s Mission District, where Alex Nieto was well known and loved, deeply grieves his death and suspects a cover-up. Supervisor Avalos’ resolution states: “Alex Nieto was killed by SFPD officers on March 21, 2014, when he was shot at least 10 times, and nearly nine months after the shooting, none of the names of the officers involved in his killing have been released, seriously undermining trust between some members of the community and police, and leading to nearly nine months of peaceful protests about racial profiling, the police’s use of force, lack of transparency and accountability in police investigations, and demands for justice.”

San Francisco – On Dec. 9, Supervisor John Avalos introduced a resolution to the Board of Supervisors to address racial profiling and the use of force by police officers, nationally and locally, as well as to uphold the right to nonviolent protest. Supervisors David Campos, Jane Kim, Malia Cohen and Eric Mar signed as cosponsors.

A final vote on the resolution will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 16, and a large showing of support is vital to its passage. Come show your support at the Board of Supervisors Chambers, Room 200, City Hall, at 2 p.m. Speak up during the public comment period and let the Supervisors know you want San Francisco to make history with this resolution. It’s Item 52, Reference No. 141234, on the agenda.

Here is the full text of the resolution:

Affirming the Board of Supervisors Commitment to Equal Justice and the Right to Protest and Urging Reforms in National Policing and Judicial Practices

Resolution affirming the San Francisco Board of Supervisors commitment to equal justice under the law and the First Amendment right to protest, recognizing the United States’ broken and racially biased police and justice systems, and urging the Department of Justice, Congress, and President Obama to review national policing and judicial practices to truly bring equal justice under the law.

WHEREAS, The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution states that no state shall “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws;” and

WHEREAS, The report, Operation Ghetto Storm, authored by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, documents 313 Black people in the United States who were killed by “police, security guards and vigilantes” in 2012, or one every 28 hours; and

WHEREAS, A recent analysis by the news organization ProPublica found that the risk of young Black males being shot and killed by police is 21 times greater than the risk for young white males; and

WHEREAS, The recent incidents of officer involved killings of people of color, overwhelmingly impacting young Black and Brown men, has led to sustained, large-scale protests across the country and underscored the United States’ centuries old, failed promise of racial equality; and

WHEREAS, Despite strong and overwhelming evidence, recent grand juries in St. Louis, Missouri, and Staten Island, New York, have failed to indict officers Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo in the killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, respectively, two unarmed Black men, showing that even the most egregious acts of police brutality are afforded impunity by our justice system; and

WHEREAS, Effective public safety efforts rely on good community-police relations based on mutual trust, transparency, and accountability; and

WHEREAS, AT TIMES SAN FRANCISCO HAS SHOWN A STRONGER COMMITMENT TO COMMUNITY-POLICE RELATIONS, AS EVIDENCED IN OUR SANCTUARY CITY AND DUE PROCESS FOR ALL ORDINANCES; HOWEVER, SAN FRANCISCO IS NOT IMMUNE TO TENSIONS BETWEEN COMMUNITIES AND POLICE AFTER INCIDENTS INVOLVING THE USE OF FORCE, INCLUDING OFFICER-INVOLVED KILLINGS; AND

WHEREAS, In May of 2014, the San Francisco Examiner reported that since 2000, 97 San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) officer-involved shootings have occurred, resulting in 33 deaths and 35 people being injured, and

WHEREAS, The Examiner reports that in every case where someone was killed in an SFPD officer-involved shooting, the officers were found to have acted within policy; however, a number of cases created controversy and tensions between communities and the police; and

WHEREAS, The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project has identified the race of 90 of the 94 people killed by SFPD since 1985, and found that 71 percent of those killed were people of color, and 41 percent were Black; and

WHEREAS, All 10 victims of officer-involved shootings in Northern California this year have been people of color; and

WHEREAS, Activists in Ferguson, Missouri, have asked protesters across the nation to connect the killing of Michael Brown to local police killings, resulting in many Bay Area protesters focusing on the killings of Oscar Grant and Alex Nieto in addition to that of Michael Brown; and

WHEREAS, Alex Nieto was killed by SFPD officers on March 21, 2014, when he was shot at least 10 times, and nearly nine months after the shooting, none of the names of the officers involved in his killing have been released, seriously undermining trust between some members of the community and police, and leading to nearly nine months of peaceful protests about racial profiling, the police’s use of force, lack of transparency and accountability in police investigations, and demands for justice; and

WHEREAS, The police killings of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Oscar Grant and Alex Nieto and far too many other young people of color have generated protests across the country from community members frustrated by police brutality, impunity and lack of transparency; and

WHEREAS, Many local and state law enforcement agencies, but not the SFPD, have responded to the protests with an overwhelming show of force, including military-grade weapons and equipment; and

WHEREAS, These military tactics have deepened the divide between protesters and police, but have not quelled the powerful voices calling for fundamental change and social justice in our police and judicial systems; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the Board of Supervisors extends its deepest condolences to the families of victims of police killings; and, be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Board of Supervisors affirms its commitment to equal justice under the law and pledges to work with the community and public safety departments to review local ordinances, officer training and policies to address racial profiling and the use of excessive force and to ensure transparency and accountability within public safety departments; and

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Board of Supervisors affirms the First Amendment right of the public to engage in nonviolent peaceful protest, free from excessive use of force and intimidation through military tactics and equipment; and

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the San Francisco Board of Supervisors commends the SFPD for not deploying military-grade equipment in response to recent protests; and

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Board of Supervisors endorses the national demands of the Ferguson Action coalition, including:

– Urging the Department of Justice to conduct a comprehensive review of local policing practices to develop standards for community involvement and oversight strategies, use of force standards, and standards for independent investigatory and disciplinary mechanisms;

– Urging the Department of Justice to create grants to implement community oversight mechanisms and to withhold federal funds for police departments that engage in discriminatory policing practices or fail to implement standards for community involvement and oversight strategies, use of force standards, and standards for independent investigatory and disciplinary mechanisms;

– Urging San Francisco’s representatives in Congress to pass the “Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act” and the “Stop Racial Profiling Act”;

– Urging San Francisco’s representatives in Congress to hold hearings to investigate racial profiling and police use of force, particularly in communities of color;

– Urging President Barack Obama to enact a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice that sets concrete targets for reducing racial disparities; and, be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Board of Supervisors directs the Clerk of the Board to transmit copies of this resolution to the San Francisco Police Commission, San Francisco’s representatives in Congress and the United States Senate, to Attorney General Eric Holder, and to President Barack Obama.

Supervisor Avalos

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS

Supervisor Avalos can be reached at John.Avalos@sfgov.org.

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