Tag: SFPD racism

LAPD Deputy Chief Bill Scott to Take Over as Chief of Scandal-Plagued San Francisco Police Department

Community members listen to LAPD Deputy Chief Bill Scott, right, at a town hall meeting to discuss an increase in violent crime in the Southwest L.A. community in March. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

article by Richard Winton via latimes.com

LAPD Deputy Chief William “Bill” Scott, the department’s highest-ranking African American officer, has been appointed chief of the San Francisco Police Department following recent scandals involving racist texting among Bay Area officers.

Scott, who oversees LAPD’s South Bureau, was selected by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee to lead the embattled department. “It’s an honor and I am humbled,” Scott said in a brief message. “I have a lot of people to give thanks to.”Scott’s was one of three names sent by the police commission to Lee. Scott will replace acting Police Chief Toney Chaplin, a 26-year department veteran who previously led the department’s homicide division.

Scott’s hiring comes after a six-month study by the U.S. Justice Department found that the San Francisco Police Department disproportionately used force on people of color, and stopped and searched them more often than it did white people.  Former Police Chief Greg Suhr stepped down in May at the request of the mayor following a series of scandals that rocked the department.

New SFPD Chief William "Bill" Scott (photo via nbclosangeles.com)
New SFPD Chief William “Bill” Scott (photo via nbclosangeles.com)

Scott joined the LAPD in 1989, working his way up the ranks. He was a young officer in the San Fernando Valley on the day the 1992 riots broke out and was immediately sent to South L.A., where he previously worked.

Scott, a U.S. Army brat, grew up in several cities before his family settled in Birmingham, Ala. Scott attended the University of Alabama.

Scott is known as an advocate of community policing and has said policing has changed dramatically for the better since his days as a rookie.  Officers, he said, need to think of themselves as guardians watching over communities — not warriors cracking down on them.

“That means if we’ve got to take somebody to jail, we’ll take them to jail,” Scott said last year. “But when we need to be empathetic and we need to be human, we’ve got to do that too.”

To read full article, go to: L.A.’s highest ranking African American officer to head scandal-plagued SFPD – LA Times

San Francisco D.A. George Gascón Expands Racial Bias Inquiry Into SF Police Department

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón (Photo via
San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón (Photo via sfexaminer.com)

First came disclosures of racist and homophobic text messages exchanged by officers of San Francisco’s Police Department. That was followed by the discovery that sheriff’s deputies had been gambling on forced fighting matches between inmates at a city jail.

Then on Thursday, the San Francisco district attorney George Gascón announced that he was expanding the investigation of the city’s police and sheriff’s departments to examine whether those agencies have a deep-seated culture of systemic bias that has led to unlawful arrests or prosecutions.

In a year in which many of the nation’s major cities have been rocked by protests after the fatal police shootings of unarmed African-Americans, the broadened inquiry made clear that even a city known for its liberal politics can be buffeted by accusations that its officers behaved in a racially biased manner.

African-Americans in San Francisco have complained for years about harassment and the use of excessive force by the police. And while African-Americans make up about 5 percent of the city’s population, they account for half of its arrests and jail inmates, and more than 60 percent of the children in juvenile detention, according to city statistics.

D.A. Gascón, formerly the SFPD Chief of Police, said, “If just one individual was wrongly imprisoned because of bias on the part of these officers, that’s one too many.”

In Baltimore on Wednesday, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake acknowledged a “fractured relationship between the police and the community” in her predominately African-American city and asked the Justice Department to conduct a civil rights investigation of the Police Department to determine whether officers had engaged in unconstitutional patterns of abuse or discrimination.

At a news conference in San Francisco announcing the expanded inquiry, the district attorney, George Gascón, acknowledged that the racist text messages had particularly undermined public confidence in both his office and the local criminal justice system.

“In the last few months, we have seen city after city where police use of force or other police activity is coming to the light and indicating that racial animosity and other types of biases play a significant role,” he said. “I think at one point we felt we would be immune from that type of activity.”

He also said he believed that the city’s tradition of inclusivity would allow it to avoid the tumult in Ferguson, Mo., and other cities where racial bias has been found to have played a role in the actions of police officers.

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