San Francisco News

Groups want mayor to abandon "stop and frisk"

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

San Francisco's mayor is under growing pressure to abandon a controversial policing policy he's been considering. Called "stop and frisk," it would allow police to stop and search people they think could be armed in an effort to get guns off the streets.

Mayor Ed Lee is continuing what he calls "preliminary discussions." Last month there were talks with New York's mayor. Later this week, Lee heads to Philadelphia. Both cities have a "stop and frisk" program, which critics say has no place in San Francisco.

Lee told San Francisco supervisors that he's trying to find new solutions to end gun violence, but a crowd of protesters says "stop and frisk" is not the way to go.

"What we need to start to do is continue to disrupt the conversation from 'stop and frisk' to something more focused, more positive," San Francisco Supervisor Malia Cohen said.

"Stop and frisk" allows officers to stop and search people they consider suspicious, but civil rights activists say in New York City that has led to racial profiling and they don't want a local version.

"There's been times I'll be at the bus stop and I'll be standing, sitting down, my backpack, you know, getting ready to go to school and an officer will come by and ask me like what I'm doing, really, really unsettling," Obai Rambo, a member of the Black Young Democrats of San Francisco, said.

His group collected hundreds of signatures on a petition asking the mayor to drop the idea. Security locked the doors when they tried to deliver them Tuesday. The petitions were eventually accepted and Tuesday afternoon, the mayor, who is a former civil rights attorney, tried to clarify his stance on stop and frisk.

"We're still taking a look at it but obviously we don't want to violate anyone's private Fourth Amendment rights," Lee said.

Gary Delanges, the head of the San Francisco Police Officers Association doesn't think "stop and frisk" is a good fit for San Francisco.

"While I think the mayor's thoughts are noble and, from a law enforcement perspective, it would be great to have that ability, I don't know if we would be wandering into areas we just don't want to wander into," Delanges said.

Delagnes says police in San Francisco do not engage in racial profiling and Chief Greg Suhr says any policy implemented in San Francisco will be constitutional.

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Tags:
ed lee, san francisco city hall, crime, san francisco news, carolyn tyler
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