The majority of the San Francisco Police Commission supports a review of the police department’s high black felony arrest rate — which outstrips all other major cities in the state, says the San Francisco Chronicle. One member said the department needs to start counting Hispanics it arrests. The commissioners made their views known in interviews with the Chronicle after its publication Sunday of a story showing African Americans in San Francisco are arrested at a rate up to four times higher than in other big California cities. The city is hiring Lorie Fridell, a University of South Florida criminologist who is an expert on racial profiling, to analyze the data on black arrest rates in San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Long Beach, San Diego, and Fresno.
Police Chief Heather Fong believes the department’s officers perform their duties “in an impartial manner.” Police partly blame out-of-town criminals who they say come to San Francisco because of the perception the courts will be more lenient than in surrounding counties if they are arrested. Mark Schlosberg of the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California said the arrest data “raises a lot of questions on how policing is being done.” He said problems with outmoded technology for tracking officers’ work and other department statistics will “make it very difficult for someone from the outside to conduct a comprehensive investigation in a short period of time.”