Citing Racial Profiling Concerns, The NLGSF along with Over 50 Bay Area Community and Civil Rights Groups Call On Mayor Lee to Issue Statement Retracting the Prospect of a "Stop-and-Frisk" Policy in San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Today, the Coalition for Safe San Francisco, along with dozens of other community organizations, civil rights groups and professional bar associations, sent a letter to Mayor Edwin Lee, expressing alarm and opposition to his statements in support of implementing a "stop-and-frisk" policy in San Francisco. On June 27, Mayor Lee told the San Francisco Chronicle's editorial board that he is considering implementing a "stop-and-frisk" policy to address gun violence in San Francisco.
Mayor Lee indicated that he had discussed the idea with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Aliya Karmali, of the National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Bay Area Chapter, stated, "The National Lawyers Guild and others were extremely surprised that Mayor Lee was looking to New York City's 'stop-and-frisk' as a model practice for San Francisco, when the New York City program has been thoroughly discredited and criticized as discriminatory." Karmali also noted that "less than a month ago, on June 17, thousands of New Yorkers marched in the street to protest this precise policy."
Nasrina Bargzie, Staff Attorney at the Asian Law Caucus stated, "The Asian Law Caucus is alarmed by and adamantly opposed to policies that in effect permit for racial profiling. We call on Mayor Lee to immediately retract his statements concerning possible implementation of this policy in San Francisco."
The Coalition's letter asserts that the proposed policy is ineffective and damaging to communities already plagued by high rates of police misconduct and incarceration.
Zahra Billoo, Executive Director of CAIR-San Francisco Bay Area stated, "NYPD's own data on its 'stop-and-frisk' policy reveals that it has resulted in minimum weapons and/or contraband yield but has targeted communities of color at disproportionate and alarming rates." Biloo added that "in 2011, an analysis of the data shows that a record 685,724 people were stopped. Blacks and Latinos made up 84% of all those stopped, although they make up respectively 23% and 29% of New York City's total population. Of African American males between the ages of 14 to 24, the number of stops last year was greater than their total population."
The Coalition of groups joins a growing chorus of opposition to the prospect of implementing a "stop-and-frisk" policy in San Francisco that includes SFPD Police Chief Greg Suhr and SF Public Defender Jeff Adachi.
The letter calls upon Mayor Lee to make an immediate public statement to assure San Franciscans that he is no longer considering the adoption of a "stop-and-frisk" policy in San Francisco and that any steps he takes to address gun violence will be implemented in a way that does not rely on racial or other forms of profiling.
A copy of the letter can be found here (pdf download).
Signatories to the letter include the following organizations: Afghan-American Bar Association, African Advocacy Network (AAN), AIDS Legal Referral Panel, Al-Awda, Palestine Right to Return Coalition, American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, American Muslim Voice, American Muslims for Palestine, Arab Cultural and Community Center, Arab Film Festival, Arab Resource and Organizing Center, Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area, Asian Law Alliance, Asian Law Caucus, Bay Area Association of Muslim Lawyers, Bay Area Somali Community, Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, CAIR San Francisco Bay Area, CARECEN, Chinese for Affirmative Action, Coalition for a Safe Berkeley, CODEPINK Women for Peace, Community United Against Violence, Defending Dissent Foundation, East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, Equal Justice Society, Instituto Familiar de la Raza, Inc, Justice for Palestinians, La Raza Centro Legal, Lavender Youth Recreation and Information Center, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, Minami Tamaki LLP, MUJERES UNIDAS Y ACTIVAS, Muslim Advocates, North American South Asian Bar Association, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Council of Arab Americans, National Lawyers Guild SF Bay Area, National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Northern California Islamic Council, Omid Advocates for Human Rights, POWER, Rev. Shad Riddick, Pastor: Metropolitan Baptist Church, Individual, San Francisco La Raza Lawyers Association, San Francisco State University Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Initiative, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 87,Services Immigrants Rights and Education Network (SIREN), SF Pride at Work/ HAVOQ, Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF), Sikh Coalition, South Asian Americans Leading Together, South Asian Bar Association of Northern California (SABA-NC) , South Asian Bar Association of Philadelphia, Transgender Law Center, United Muslims of America, USPCN - Northern California and W. Haywood Burns Institute.