Kate Yavenditti Speaks to the NAACP about CRB Reform

At the June 7th general meeting of the NAACP San Diego, Kate Yavenditti from Women Occupy San Diego spoke about replacing the Community Review Board with an independent Commission on Police Practices. She explained that the current board is being understaffed by Mayor Faulconer, lacks independent legal counsel and investigators, and is only presented with cases the SDPD itself deems worthy of investigation. WOSD’s amendment to the City Charter would remedy this.

There is a critical Rules Committee meeting at 2pm on July 11th at 202 C Street that might move the amendment forward. The NAACP backs strongly the idea of independent community review of alleged police misconduct. The police have a long record of bias, implicit and explicit, against African-Americans and other people of color. The police need to be held accountable when they misuse the vast power they have been granted by our legislatures and courts.

WOSD Charter Amendment for November Ballot_0

An Open Letter to Chief Nisleit

2 March 2018

Dear Chief Nisleit,

Welcome to your new position serving the residents of the City of San Diego.  We hope and believe that you are a man of good will who is eager to serve, and we wish you every success.

You are coming to the job at a time when, despite the continued reductions in crime, the country and the city are increasingly polarized, and suspicion reigns amongst our population and the officers who serve them.

We ask that you bear some things in mind as you assume your duties.  We ask that you make protecting and serving the population of San Diego your first priority.  Of course we appreciate the service of your officers and recognize that they and your department deserve your support, but you must not protect them to the detriment of those you are sworn to serve.

We ask that you deal frankly and honestly with issues of race and bias.  We ask that you be able to say the words, “The officers in the San Diego Police Department have biases;” an ability that eluded your predecessor.  We ask that you not immediately dismiss race as a factor, either in crimes or interactions between officers and those they serve, as your predecessor has done.  As we are a country and city in racial crisis, refusing to consider race and bias as factors in crimes or interactions between officers and the public they serve reveals resistance to deal frankly and honestly with race and bias.

We ask that you push for full implementation of recommendations in the SDSU report on Traffic Stops.  The City Council may have chosen to ignore it, but you have the standing and moral authority to reopen the discussion.  We ask that you demonstrate the leadership that the Council has failed to show.

We ask that you continue to train your officers in conflict de-escalation and the use of minimum necessary force.  We ask that the culture of the SDPD be one of public service, not authoritarianism backed by lethal force. We ask that you aggressively deal with the officers in your Department who deal aggressively with civilians, and that you work to make the culture of the SDPD one of accountability, not one characterized by a wall of silence.

You have our support and our respect as you assume your duties.  If you behave with forthrightness and honesty, if you do your best for all people of the City of San Diego, you will keep that support and respect.  We look forward to working with you, now and into the future.

Sincerely,

Dr André J. Branch
President
NAACP San Diego Branch

April 17 District Attorney Forum

The District Attorney is a crucial position.  The District Attorney’s office decides what charges to file against people, young or old, black or white or latino, Christian or Muslim or Atheist, civilian or police officer.  A District Attorney can contribute to the School-to-Prison Pipeline or squeeze it out of existence.

If anything needs your attention this election season, it’s the race for district attorney.  We urge you to research the candidates:

Geneviéve Jones-Wright: https://www.joneswrightforda.com/
Summer Stephan: https://www.summerstephanforsandiegoda.com/

See what each of them stands for, and decide which of them should be in charge of the machinery of justice.

We held a forum on April 17th for them to present their views to the NAACP and the public; only Geneviéve Jones-Wright made time for us.

2018-04-17 DA Forum

32 new photos · Album by Communications NAACP San Diego

 

DISTRICT ATTORNEY DECISION IN THE OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING OF MR. ALFRED OLANGO

San Diego, California – 26 January 2017 – The NAACP San Diego Branch is outraged by the decision of the District Attorney to bring no charges against officer Gonzalves for the shooting and killing of Mr. Alfred Olango, an innocent, unarmed, African male who was experiencing mental distress. ”This decision is a gross miscarriage of justice,” said Dr. André J. Branch, President of the NAACP San Diego Branch. The NAACP is saddened for Mr. Olango’s family and is saddened that the name, Alfred Olango, will now be added to the long list of unarmed Black Americans killed in police involved shootings and/or encounters. Among these names are Ezell Ford, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Freddy Gray, Sandra Bland, Orlando Castille, and Alton Sterling.

The facts are that at the time that Mr. Olango was killed he was mentally distraught and unarmed. His sister had called the police three separate times to ask for help for her brother who was behaving erratically. He was hemmed in by a fence, officers with a gun, a taser, and a police vehicle. Police officers had their guns drawn in a shooting stance. One officer at the scene deployed a taser; the other officer shot and killed Mr. Olango. The killing of Mr. Olango was inconsistent with good policing. “Police officers should have de-escalated the situation as is often done with white individuals whom they perceive to be threats,” said Dr. André J. Branch, President of the NAACP San Diego Branch. Officers clearly need more training in de-escalating situations.

Given the sister’s cry for help for her brother who was experiencing a psychotic break, members of the Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT) should have been dispatched. The NAACP calls on the county to allocate additional resources to expand the number of Psychiatric Emergency Response Teams.The process for investigation of police involved shootings is flawed when the police department in which the officer is employed conducts the investigation into the killing and presents the findings to the District Attorney for a decision. This policy and practice must be changed. Moreover, the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights allows all aspects of the investigation to be conducted under a shroud of secrecy. The Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights also allowed the police officer, whom we know shot and killed a man, to walk freely in the community and the society while his colleagues, the police, investigated the killing, and while the District Attorney decided what to do with him. Dr. Branch insists, “No special interest group needs its own special bill of rights. The Bill of Rights that is presently a part of the United States Constitution should be sufficient to protect all of us.”

The NAACP invites all citizens of goodwill, including police officers, to demand equality in the criminal justice system by joining us in working towards abolishing the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights.

The District Attorney has called the shooting of Mr. Olango, “a justified shooting.” The shooting and killing of an unarmed innocent man cannot be justified. Consider the message that this decision sends to the San Diego County Citizenry. Now, a segment of the citizenry is afraid to call the police for help. The NAACP San Diego Branch calls on the California Attorney Office and the United States Justice Department to investigate this police involved shooting.

Contact: Dr. André J. Branch, President, NAACP San Diego Branch, 619.315.7035, [email protected] , P.O. Box 152086 · San Diego, CA 92195-2086