The NLGSF is a member of the Coalition for a Safe San Francisco.
San Francisco, CA – At last week’s Police Commission meeting, San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) Deputy Chief John Loftus presented the inaugural public report on the SFPD’s work with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force. The annual report is mandated by the Safe San Francisco Civil Rights Ordinance, signed into law on May 9, 2012. Deputy Chief Loftus’ verbal report lasted two minutes and 36 seconds, and contained almost no information. The ordinance, on the other hand, was the culmination of several years of community organizing and pressure. It began with a hearing before the Human Rights Commission, with an overflow crowd, on the racial and religious profiling experienced by the Arab, Muslim, Middle Eastern, and South Asian (AMEMSA) community in San Francisco, on September 23, 2010. From that point on, the community, along with the 79 diverse organizations endorsing the Ordinance, worked tirelessly for nearly two years to partner with the Mayor and Board of Supervisors to pass an ordinance that mandates the civil rights of all.
One of the key components of the ordinance is a requirement that the SFPD provide an annual report with appropriate public information on its activities with the JTTF. This report is meant to provide transparency and accountability, and to demonstrate that the SFPD is committed to ensuring that the racial and religious profiling that the community has experienced is not repeated.
After unanimous passage of the Ordinance by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and the signing of the Ordinance by Mayor Lee, members of the Coalition have continued to monitor its implementation and attempted to work closely with the Chief of Police on the report. However, even after members of the Coalition sent several letters to the Chief regarding implementation of the ordinance, and met with him in July and September of last year, he failed to inform the Coalition of when the report would be presented, or to include any of the specific information he assured the Coalition would be included, such as the number of times SFPD activities with the JTTF were authorized, the number of times they were denied, and the number of times undercover officers and infiltrators were approved in this context – data which is necessary for the public and those in charge of monitoring the police to determine whether or not the SFPD is abiding by the law.
Deputy Chief Loftus’ report completely failed to provide the information required to ensure the accountability and transparency required under the Safe San Francisco Civil Rights Ordinance. The Coalition calls on the Chief of Police to promptly issue a public written report containing the information he promised he would provide.
About The Coalition for a Safe San Francisco:
The Coalition for a Safe San Francisco is a growing grassroots alliance dedicated to protecting the civil rights and civil liberties challenged by overbroad national security policies. These policies have historically impacted communities of struggle and today are disproportionately targeting South Asian, Arab, and Muslim Americans. Our Coalition seeks to end racial, religious, and ethnic profiling and harassment by local and federal law enforcement agents in the City and County of San Francisco through community organizing, education, and policy and legal advocacy. Visit: http://www.safesf.org