San Diego, CA - Today, the San Diego City Council will discuss the results of a San Diego State University traffic study released last year that showed Black and Latino drivers are unfairly targeted by the San Diego Police Department.
The San Diego City Council has an opportunity to discuss the report and hear recommendations from community members, as well as the Council's own Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee, on what can be done to end racial profiling by police.
Christopher Rice-Wilson, Associate Director of Alliance San Diego, released the following statement:
"We now have scientific evidence to prove what people of color in San Diego have known for decades: The San Diego Police Department unfairly targets Blacks and Latinos. It makes it clear that Blacks and Latinos are disproportionately targeted by SDPD in "routine" traffic stops, searches, and field interviews.
Previously, Chief Shelley Zimmerman refused to call the practices detailed in this report racial profiling. She said all people have implicit bias as if it is the same thing as racial profiling. They're not the same. It's clear SDPD uses race to determine who requires enforcement and the depth of that enforcement based on skin color. That is racial profiling and we can't fix it until we call it what it is!
Chief Zimmerman and the SDPD need to acknowledge this dysfunctional culture of racial profiling and should apologize to all San Diegans. This institution's actions are the antithesis for 21st century policing practices. Racial profiling is unjust and unjustified. Not only does is squander public resources, it jeopardizes public safety and undermines public trust.
Today, the San Diego City Council has an opportunity to do something about it, and take action to create a city and a police department where the color of your skin isn't a barrier for justice or equality."
Alliance San Diego supports the actions recommended by the Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee. In addition, it urges the City Council to take the following actions:
- Issue a formal and official apology from the highest offices in the city government to the people for decades of disparate and unjust treatment at the hands of those sworn to protect and serve us. This apology should be the start of making noticeable and sweeping change to reverse decades of discrimination and abuse.
- Require SDPD to acknowledge and apologize. Racial profiling is an illegal practice steeped in the racist history of America and has no place in the 21st Century. It erodes the trust of the community and makes true partnership impossible in communities of color. If the leadership of our police department can't acknowledge what this report proves, then we need new leadership at the department.
- Require the San Diego Police Department to strengthen its screening process to root out racism before it ever hits the streets armed with a gun and a badge.
About Alliance San Diego
Alliance San Diego is a non-profit, non-partisan 501(c)(3) community empowerment organization working to ensure that all people can achieve their full potential in an environment of harmony, safety, equality, and justice. Our mission is to to provide a means for diverse individuals and organizations to share information, collaborate on issues and mobilize for change in the pursuit of social justice, especially in low-income communities and communities of color. We pursue this mission through targeted civic engagement programs and strategic coalitions that focus on specific issues and policy reforms.