Dr Weber Deserves Better

Dec 30, 2019

We heartily agree that Dr Weber deserves the honor of being the Union-Tribune’s San Diegan of 2019.  She continues to deliver on legislation that helps all Californians, and advances the cause of racial equality.  AB-392 is only the latest such bill; 2019 also saw the first reports from the SDPD from AB-953, Dr Weber’s Racial Identity and Profiling Act.  We are very proud to call Dr Weber a life member of the NAACP San Diego Branch.

The Union Tribune is highly complimentary of AB-392 and the process of negotiation and passage, which is gratifying. Sadly, if unsurprisingly, the article falls short in other ways.

We find it insulting that, unlike past honorees, Dr Weber’s photo was not used, and instead she is represented by a cartoon.  African-Americans are not cartoons, they are real people. Individual U-T reporters seem to understand this (look at Don Boomer and Eduardo Contreras’ wonderful photos of Shelby Jacobs and Robert L. Moore in Pam Kragen’s article.)  Sadly, the Editorial Board made a different choice.

To add insult to injury, the cartoonist chosen was Steve Breen, who has a very unsettling record when it comes to African-Americans.  We have not forgotten his equating James Baldwin and Toni Morrison with Jussie Smollett, for example.

Had the cartoon been the only insensitivity, we might have let it pass.  Sadly, the text is lacking as well. Much is made of Dr Weber’s ability to get AB-392 passed, but there is almost no acknowledgement (save in the otherwise-problematic cartoon) of the reason AB-392 is so desperately needed by San Diegans.  Black and brown people are still so much more likely to lose their lives by police violence; that’s the driving force behind AB-392 and AB-953. Does the U-T admit this? No.

In fact, rather than point to the recent evidence that the SDPD is in need of fundamental reform, such as might someday be delivered by Dr Weber’s work, the U-T chooses to pander to the deniers of racism by referring to shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, 5 years ago, as “justified.”  We wonder — is the U-T editorial board deliberately trying to have it both ways; to honor Dr Weber on the surface while signaling underneath to the racists? Or is the problem one of implicit bias on the part of the Board?

In summary, we are glad to see Dr Weber’s resourcefulness and political skill honored, but greatly saddened to see the causes slighted to which she has devoted her life: the full personhood, safety, and well-being of the most vulnerable San Diegans.

Sincerely,

Francine Maxwell, First Vice President
NAACP San Diego Branch

The Mayor and the San Diego Police Department Fail to Address CAB Concerns

Dec 16, 2019

We read with interest the November 18th response from Jeffrey Jordon to the April 22nd recommendations from the Citizen’s Advisory Board on Police/Community Relations.  We understand that the SDPD will be explaining its response at the December 16th meeting of the CAB.  

There is a lot that we don’t like in the SDPD’s response.  We might, for example, have complained about it taking SEVEN MONTHS to respond at all.  We might have complained that the response was sent just before the Thanksgiving Holiday, when it was most likely to go ignored.  It’s possible that we would have complained about the quote that was put in Shelley Zimmerman’s mouth, which was inaccurate and does not convey the evasive words she actually used.  

We might have asked for a different response than “inapplicable” to the request to reduce staffing of the Gang Suppression Unit.  We might have remarked at the Gang Suppression Unit being renamed the “Special Operations Unit” when it might more properly have been renamed the “Harassment of Black and Brown Youth and Adult Unit.”

We might have asked for a more meaningful response to calling for a moratorium on “pretext stops” (also known as “Driving-While-Black Stops”) than having you quote court cases that indicate the practice is legal, however counterproductive and oppressive it may be.

We might have been incredulous at the SDPD’s disingenuous inability to understand what a “Beat” system is.

We might, in fact, have gone on to comment and the second half of the response, which is as full of defensiveness, obstructionism and mendacity as the first half.

However, we see no need to refute the SDPD’s self-justification paragraph by paragraph and word by word.  Instead, we would like to point the Mayor, Chief Nisleit, and the TRUE author of the response, City Attorney Mara Elliot, to the recent report by Campaign Zero.

This report can be found at policescorecard.org/sandiego.  It is not a pretty thing, and we think it more proper to comment on it than on the latest accountability whitewash to issue from 1200 Third Avenue.  Here are some excerpts:

San Diego police were 44% more likely to search Latinx people and 133% more likely to search black people than white people during a routine traffic stop – especially for equipment violations.

Chief Nisleit, your “anti-bias” training is not working.

San Diego police and sheriff’s departments were more likely to search black and Latinx people during routine traffic stops, they were less likely to find contraband during these searches. This suggests both departments are over-searching people in general, with little to no public safety benefit, while engaging in biased policing towards communities of color in particular.

Chief Nisleit, your pretext stops are not contributing to public safety.

[B]lack people were 4.1x more likely than white people to be arrested by SDPD for drug possession, despite research showing black and white people use and sell drugs at similar rates. Both agencies made as many arrests for drug possession alone as they did for all Part 1 Violent and Property Crimes combined.

Excuse us; Chief Nisleit, your biased pretext stops are not contributing to public safety.

Chief Nisleit and the SDPD are justifiably proud of the reduction in San Diego of violent crimeand we admit to being gratified that San Diego is one of the safest large cities for most of the population.  We wonder, however, if those statistics need to be adjusted based on violent crime committee BY the SDPD in the normal course of their duties. For example:

San Diego police used force at a higher rate than 95% of California law enforcement agencies in our analysis.

The San Diego Police Department is a source of violence in our City.

Between 2016-2018, San Diego Police Department and the San Diego Sheriff’s Department were more likely to use force against black people, even after controlling for arrest rates. … San Diego police were 172% more likely to use force against people perceived to have mental disabilities during a stop …. This suggests there are serious issues regarding [the SDPD’s] interactions with black people and people with disabilities.

Naturally, the violence Chief Nisleit oversees is worse against black folks and disabled folks.

On average, when SDPD uses force against black people they use a level of force 1.3x more severe than when using force against white people. 

Chief Nisleit, not only is violence more frequent, but it is also more severe when African-Americans are involved.

Now, here is something else we agree with:

When civilians came forward to report police misconduct, it rarely led to accountability in San Diego. Of 226 civilian complaints of San Diego Police Department conduct in 2016 and 2017, only 11% were ruled in favor of civilians. Moreover, complaints alleging the most serious misconduct were never sustained. For example, of 21 civilian complaints of police discrimination, 75 use of force complaints and 2 complaints alleging criminal misconduct, none of these complaints were sustained.

Everyone except the Mayor and the SDPD have been calling for the CRB to be replaced with a truly independent citizen body pushing for accountability.  Of course, the SDPD sees the CRB with the same rose-colored glasses through which it views its own conduct.

The Campaign Zero report, for which we are very grateful, goes on to make some common-sense recommendations.  By and large, we concur with their recommendations, as well as the recommendations made by the CAB. While we will be vocal about suggesting solutions at the right time, there really is no point in recommending medicine to a department that sees itself as healthy.

We call on Mayor Faulconer and Chief Nisleit, not to mention City Attorney Mara Elliott, to finally admit that the SDPD is in need of a fundamental new direction and fundamental reform.  Once they admit they have a problem, we stand ready to collaborate with them in devising and implementing solutions, as well as convincing our community to give the SDPD another chance, once the reforms are in place.

We doubt that we will get there with the current administration.  We hope this coming election brings someone into the Mayor’s office who actually cares about people who are not wealthy and white.  We look forward to a productive relationship with such a Mayor.

Francine Maxwell, First Vice President
NAACP San Diego Branch

San Diego County Board of Supervisors

We were recently approached by Supervisor Cox, who wanted to honor the Branch on its 100th Anniversary. At our October 3rd General Membership Meeting, we voted to decline the honor, due to longstanding issues with the Board of Supervisors treatment of African-Americans and other people of color, including the essentially broken CLERB, the resolution opposing AB-392, their failure to adequately address the housing crisis and other issues of interest to our Membership.

We plan instead to present a letter to the Board, outlining our complaints over their actions and policies.

However, we are aware that only a small part of our Membership is able to attend the General Membership Meetings, and we want to give everyone an opportunity to make their concerns known or give us feedback on the letter.

So, please, if you have input on what we should tell the supervisors, let us know by sending us an email!

5th Annual Interfaith Prayer Vigil Was a Moving Experience

For those of you who were not able to attend the Prayer Vigil, we want to let you all know that the Prayer Vigil was a moving experience with more that 60 people of different faiths, ethnicities, ages and parts of the county in attendance. The presenters were filled win sincerity, thoughtfulness and passion in their presentations and prayers. There is a strong vibration for peace and harmony in every community, and our friends and allies are praying with us and for us that the reckless and painful loss of the lives of African Americans at the hands of police officers will come to an end, and that justice will be done for those we have already lost.

Thanks to Pastor Byrd for assistance with logistics, the use of his Church and his gracious words of welcome and benediction.  Thanks to Bishop Bowser for his support and his part in the ceremony. My special thanks goes out to all of the presenters, but especially to Tasha Williamson and Cedrina McDonald, who so bravely shared the pain of the loss of her cousin, Earl McNeil to the egregious and deadly neglect of the National City Police Department and its officers.

In 2016,  August 11th was designated by the NAACP to be an annual National Day of Mourning to commemorate all African Americans killed in police involved interactions.  The San Diego branch of the NAACP held its fifth annual Interfaith Prayer Vigil on August 16, 2019 at Christ United Presbyterian Church of San Diego in support of this resolution.  Clergy representing the Jewish, Muslim, and Christian faith traditions and community organizers who shared personal stories of loss and reflection, moved the hearts and minds of the many participants from throughout San Diego County. 

Attendees listen to Cedrina McDonald
Thanks to our Presenters:
3rd Row: Clovis Honoré, President, NAACP San Diego Branch
2nd row, eft to right: Tasha Williamson, Cedrina McDonald (cousin of Earl McNeil), Jeffrey Karahameto (SDOP), Leah Blake (Community Activist) Rabbi Laurie Coskey, Imam Wali Fardan, Carla Stayboldt (Continuing the Conversation on Racism)
Bottom row, left to right: Rev. Patty Allen. Pastor Kori Pacyniak, Pastor Nathan Byrd, Pastor Buddy Hauser, Bishop Cornelius Bowser
NAACP members who organized the vigil, left to right:
Diane Langworthy, Petrina Branch, Khalada Salaam-Alaji, Linda Cochran-Johnson
Also pictured is a wall hanging containing the names of so many lives lost to Police violence.

Children Don’t Belong on Prison Buses

Really, San Diego City Parks & Rec and County Sheriff?

Do we really have to say this?  Children don’t belong on prison buses.  Children don’t belong in environments meant to cage and hold adults.  It is entirely inappropriate for any children at any time for any reason.

How much worse, then, that these children were largely children of color from underserved communities.  These children have grown up in economically distressed, segregated communities. One reason these communities are economically distressed is the predatory policing practiced against African-Americans and other people of color.  This predatory policing has been described as the “school-to-prison pipeline.” The idea that the Sheriff and the City would deliberately load black and brown schoolchildren onto a prison bus is beyond endurance.

It adds insult to injury that other vehicles have been used for other children; why is it the black and brown who are loaded onto prison buses?

We would have applauded the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department for sponsoring a beach trip for underserved youth.  We would have applauded the City of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department for organizing the trip. Instead, these two organizations have demonstrated their inability to understand (or perhaps their callous disregard of) the difficulties faced by the poor and the brown in the City of San Diego.  

The NAACP San Diego Branch is in its 100th year of supporting Civil Rights and fighting discrimination.  We would be delighted to help educate Sheriff Bill Gore and his Department, as well as Mayor Kevin Faulconer and his Parks and Recreation Department.  These thoughtless and insensitive actions do real harm to our children and our communities, and they must stop.

Another Unjust Verdict

June 9th, 2019

On June 4th, a nearly all-white jury acquitted to Sheriff’s deputies of assault during their arrest of two Latino men.  This acquittal came despite clear video evidence that the men were handcuffed and in no position to offer resistance or danger to the officers.

We deplore this verdict as much as we deplore the actions of the deputies that brought them to trial. Despite crime being at historic lows, we continue to give the police wider and wider latitude in their use of force, and we continue to erode the few protections we have against police misconduct.  It is not a secret (or an accident) that the burden of this behavior falls primarily on people of color.

It’s time for our society to reckon, legislatively, judicially, prosecutorially, administratively and morally with our criminal “justice” system.  The system is designed to persecute the poor and people of color, and we need a system that is fair for all.

Therefore, we of the NAACP San Diego Branch call for the following reforms:

  • Legislative reform to make it clear that violent acts perpetrated by police will be subject to sanction.
  • Judicial reform to re-apply the protections of our Constitution against unreasonable search and seizure, against punishment without conviction, and for equal protection under the law.  Unjust precedents that allow for police violence must be overturned, unjust practices that allow for pro-police juries and verdicts must be discontinued.
  • Prosecutorial reform so that we pay as much attention to the documented crimes of law enforcement as we do to the alleged crimes of the poor.  We may be gratified that for once our District Attorney chose to prosecute a case against law enforcement officers. We wonder, however, if this is merely the exception to prove the rule that Law Enforcement is, in her eyes, above the law.
  • Administrative and policy reform inside the Law Enforcement agencies themselves.  The Police need to recognize that lawless behavior on their part subjects them in the end to more danger, not less.  They need to recognize that tactics of terror and violence will beget violence and not cooperation. They need better recruitment, better training, and a commitment to integrity and accountability.
  • And finally, we call for moral reform.  We as a society need to wake up and look at what we have allowed ourselves to become.  We must once again be shocked at shocking behavior, and not allow ourselves to be desensitized to injustice, just because it wears a badge.

The NAACP San Diego Branch stands ready to assist any agencies who would like to better understand how to protect the rights of the residents of San Diego, regardless of their color. These problems can be solved, if only we as a society recover our will to solve them.

It is time to return to the rule of law in our society.

Clovis Honoré, President
NAACP San Diego Branch

Fifth Annual Interfaith Prayer Vigil

“I prayed for freedom for twenty years, but received no answer, until I prayed with my legs.”

–Frederick Douglass

In 2016, the NAACP adopted a resolution, proposed by the San Diego Branch, designating August 11th as a National Day of Mourning for African Americans killed in police interactions. Our first interfaith prayer vigil was celebrated on August 12, 2016.

Please join us as we gather for an evening of prayer to mourn all African Americans who have been killed by the police.  We will also pray for other matters of concern including civil rights, jobs, education, health care, and housing.

The Vigil will occur on August 16th, 2019, 7:00pm – 8:30pm

Christ United Presbyterian Church of San Diego
3025 Fir Street
San Diego, CA 92102

For more information, email religion@sandiegonaacp.org or call 619-263-7823.


National Day of Mourning for African Americans Killed in Police Involved Interactions

WHEREAS, the NAACP affirms the constitutional right of all citizens to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and

WHEREAS, the NAACP recognizes that police officers are sworn to protect all of the citizens in the communities in which they serve; and

WHEREAS, police killed at least 336 Black people in the United States in 2015; and

WHEREAS, Black people in the United States are three times more likely to be killed by police than white people, and

WHEREAS, 30% of Black victims killed by police in 2015 were unarmed compared to 19% of White victims; and

WHEREAS, in 97% of the killings of Blacks in police involved interactions in 2015, none of the officers involved were charged with a crime.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) recognizes the 11th day of August each year as a National Day of Mourning for African Americans Killed in Police Involved Interactions.

Trenelle Cannon Legal Fund

On May 7, Trenelle Canon had an encounter with the officers of the San Diego Police Department Gang Unit. By Trenelle’s account, he was unarmed and yanked roughly from the vehicle, and both Trenelle and the officer lost balance and fell to the ground. At this point, the video speaks for itself:

Police footage shows controversial arrest of Tranelle Cannon

On Tuesday Trenelle Cannon, 20, was arrested by San Diego Police in Chula Vista, California for outstanding warrants for firearm possession and robbery. His girlfriend filmed his arrest where a group of officers swarm him and one punches him on the ground and posted it online where it sparked outrage.

SDPD protects and serves young Mr Cannon (using its officers fists while they hold him and his 150 pounds with their combined half ton of weight.)

Mr Trenelle’s mother is raising funds to serve in her son’s legal defense.

Click here to support #justicefortrenelle organized by Leticia Bates

On may 7th 2019 my son was picked up by the sdpd and gang unit on a warrant. He was yanked out the car by the first officer who approached the vehicle, due to the impact of being forcefully pulled out the car they lost balance.

If you cannot donate via GoFundMe, Ms Bates is also collecting shoes:

Hello, I am Trenelle Cannon’s mom. The first fundraiser for my son will be a shoe drive. So if you have any shoes  that are still in good condition that you want to donate that would be great. There is a company that will take your shoes and will cash you out for them. The money that we get from the shoes will be donated to my son’s lawyer fees. We have chosen a lawyer and total the cost will be $15000. 

I can be contact by email: [email protected]
Or you can contact me by cell via text: 6192520595

We can find a place to meet or you can drop donations off to me on an arranged basis! Anyone who wants to give cash donations can contact me at the information listed above. Thank you everyone in advance thank you for all the prayers and comforting words you all have expressed! God bless.