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US probe finds racial bias by San Francisco police

  • Written by AFP
  • Published in World
  • Read: 212

WASHINGTON -- The San Francisco police department disproportionately targets and uses force against African-American and Hispanic individuals, according to a US federal investigation released Wednesday.

The Department of Justice inquiry concluded that the majority of deadly use of force cases in the California city involved people of color.

Minority drivers are also searched and arrested in traffic stops more often than white drivers, the report found, and people of color were “less likely to be found with contraband than white drivers.”

“There are numerous indicators of implicit and institutionalized bias against minority groups,” said the report, which added that the department does not adequately train its officers or properly investigate their use of force.

The independent federal inquiry — carried out by the department’s office of community policing — was launched in February following the fatal shooting of Mario Woods, a 26-year-old black man who died in a hail of police bullets last December.
   
San Francisco had also been embroiled in controversy over racist and homophobic text messages exchanged among officers.
   
Similar investigations have probed the police forces in Chicago, Ferguson and Baltimore, as a string of deaths of young black men killed at the hands of police has fueled national outrage.
   
“These are timely conversations because police-community relations in the United States have reached a pivotal moment,” the report said. “Trust is the key to the stability of our communities, the integrity of our criminal justice system, and the safe and effective delivery of policing services.”
   
The Justice Department issued 272 recommendations to the San Francisco department to aid in potential police reform initiatives.