Gov. Brown signs anti-racial profiling legislation
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation that would make police officers in this state collect data about the people they pull over in traffic stops.
"California has the largest number of deaths in the hands of police of any state in the nation," said Assemblywoman Shirley Weber.
And because of what happened in Ferguson and what happened in New York City, plus other deaths of unarmed black men during incidents with police officers that Weber pushed for this racial profiling bill.
"San Diego has always had this whole issue of driving while black, where people were being stopped and harassed and those kinds of things. That’s always kind of been there," Weber said. "Part of this bill and the collection of data is to bring it to a conscious level to make us realize what we’re doing, how often we are stopping people and whether or not we are stopping people for good cause.
But the San Diego Police Department has been voluntarily collection information on who they pull over for years.
In February, San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman presented stop data from 2014 to the city.
It showed that blacks and Hispanics were pulled over more than their share of the driving population.
But she said drivers in San Diego include tourists and members of the Military, so without the racial makeup of everyone on the roads, it’s hard to make fair comparisons.
Weber said the new legislation is about restoring the public’s trust in law enforcement.
That’s part of the reason SDPD started outfitting their officers with body warn cameras one year ago.
The first look at that program, showed complaints against officers went down 23 percent in that year. But the number of use of force incidents and the number of assaults on police officers went up.
"There’s been zero instances when they wished they didn’t have the camera and numerous times they are more grateful that they did. It’s helped de-escalate incidents, it’s a win win for everybody," Chief Zimmerman said.
Councilmember Marti Emerald called for an independent analysis of the police departments most recent stop numbers.
SDSU’s School of Public Affairs has taken that job and will present their initial results in early November at a meeting of the public safety committee.
Other phases of their investigation will include interviews with random police officers and members of the community.
Under the new legislation, police departments would have to start reporting traffic stop data to the attorney general in April of 2019.