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Justice Department faults San Francisco police for violence against minorities

An investigation reveals 272 deficiencies in the San Francisco Police Department that need to be addressed, the U.S. Department of Justice says.

By
Stephen Feller
The San Francisco Police Department has 272 deficiencies to address in order to improve policing and its relationships with minority communities, according to an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. Photo by Eric Broder Van Dyke/Shutterstock
The San Francisco Police Department has 272 deficiencies to address in order to improve policing and its relationships with minority communities, according to an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. Photo by Eric Broder Van Dyke/Shutterstock

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- The San Francisco Police Department has at least 272 areas it should address to do its job better and improve relationships with minority communities, according to a report from the U.S. Justice Department.

A six-month investigation of the San Francisco Police Department by the Justice Department found deficiencies that include outdated use of force policies, inadequate data collection, lack of accountability, ineffective antibias training and indications of institutionalized bias against minority groups.

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San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee requested the Justice Department review following several officer-involved shootings and scandals over racist and homophobic text messages roiled the relationship between the department and minority communities.

"This report makes clear the significant challenges that lie ahead for the police department and the city," said Ronald Davis, director of the Justice Department's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. "More than 90 findings outlined in the report reflect key operational deficiencies in the police department. However, the more than 270 recommendations described in the report provide an opportunity for the police department to address these deficiencies and advance the police department to meet the best practices of 21st century policing."

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In addition to outdated policies on use of force, poor collection of data and a lack of accountability, investigators found disparities in traffic stops, post-stop searches and use of deadly force against African-Americans.

The investigation also revealed "numerous indicators" of implicit and institutionalized bias against minority groups, though they may not be linked to the severity of force officers use. Among the racial concerns raised in the report are disproportionate numbers of black and Hispanic drivers being more likely to be stopped and searched than whites.

Lee told the San Francisco Gate he was "directing the leadership of the San Francisco Police Department and the Police Commission to implement these reforms as soon as possible with one specific goal in mind: fair and just policing that treats everyone the same and places the sanctity of life above all else."

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