San Francisco Police Department accused of racial bias

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Posted by Legal Team On February 28, 2020

Is there a serious bias against blacks in the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD)?

An email from a city employee who was responsible for teaching anti-bias classes to officers alleges that the discrimination toward blacks in the department is both rampant and extreme. The email, which came from a former Department of Human Resources manager with the SFPD, was written after the employee saw a blog post aimed at an acting police captain. According to the complaint, the post was not merely critical of the acting chief but also “severely” racist in tone.

The email prompted Police Commission President Robert Hirsch to request an investigation by the Department of Police Accountability (DPA). The DPA is actually a civilian agency that serves as a watchdog against police malfeasance. The email’s author also cited several different incidents that demonstrated anti-black bias, including one in which he was told that his anti-bias class would go over better with officers if he “were a white person.” In another incident, a police sergeant admitted that, given the choice, he’d follow a black suspect over a white one because “black people statistically commit more crimes.”

Anti-black bias is not only a problem for people working inside the SFPD. It can also undermine the public’s safety and create disparities in the way that black and white people are treated by the authorities. The SFPD has been struggling with reforms since the United States Department of Justice issued a list of 272 recommendations back in 2016.

Racial bias has no place in the workplace — especially when that workplace is the police department. If you’ve been the victim of racial discrimination at work, find out how to assert your legal rights.