San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom says he will “run roughshod” over the police department to create, by the end of the year, a computerized tracking system to identify problem officers, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Reacting to last week’s Chronicle’s series on police officers’ use of force, Newsom was particularly troubled by data showing that blacks have constituted typically more than 40 percent of the cases in which force was used on suspects. The Chronicle reported that about 5 percent of the department’s 2,220 officers use considerably more force than their peers. The newspaper showed that without a computerized tracking system, the department is incapable of getting a rapid, complete look at these problem officers, and that many remain on the street.
The Chronicle also reported that blacks account for 43 percent of all arrests in San Francisco, higher than in any other county in California. Newsom said he had put $800,000 in the 2006-07 city budget for the computerized tracking ssystem. Noting the racial data cited by the newspaper, Newsom discussed the police videos disclosed late last year in which officers mockingly portrayed blacks, Asians and women. Newsom attacked the videos earlier as racist and sexist and said Friday he did not think he had overreacted, as many critics contend.