Citizen’s Justice Committee to Meet August 10th

The Citizen’s Justice Committee, which will be working on police reform, is set to have its first meeting on August 10th, 2020, at 6pm via Zoom.

All are welcome to attend.

Dr R. Lee Brown, UCSD Researcher in Government & Community Relations, and an expert in risk management, leadership, employee relations, and many other things, will be heading up the committee.

If you are interested in serving with Dr Brown and working on issues of race and policing, we invite you to fill out our Volunteer Interest Form, here: sandiegonaacp.org/volunteer, and then join us at the meeting!

Zoom Requirements

For the safety of all attendees, we require the following from participants in our meetings:

  • Have a (paid or) free Zoom account and log in to it before attending
  • Use a current recognizable photo of their face as the profile picture
  • Use their legal first and last names on their profile

For help on setting up zoom, please see sandiegonaacp.org/zoom-setup

Mr Tony Wilson Did Not Have to Die

July 28, 2020

Mr Tony Wilson’s fatal encounter with the National City Police occurred on September 19th of 2019, before COVID, before Mr George Floyd, before so much that has finally brought police violence into the focus it deserves.  The case is back in the news because of a Public Records Act request made by NBC San Diego, and the subsequent release of the footage from the officers’ body cameras.

How sad that our local law enforcement agencies were still discussing their de-escalation  “philosophy” the night Mr Wilson was arrested.  How sad that they did not have de-escalation policies and procedures in place then.  This would have been a perfect time to use de-escalation.  Mr Wilson was obeying the officers; had they slowed down, had they given him a chance, he might be alive today.

Rather than practice de-escalation, which was an option is not a prescription, the force they used was unnecessary and excessive, by any reasonable standard. Despite his obedience, they jumped on him, smashing his face to the ground, and one of the officers tazed him five times in just 60 seconds.  The stress was simply too much for Mr Wilson, and after that all-too-familiar “I can breathe” and “help me” he fell silent forever.

This would also have been a perfect time for a PERT team.  San Diego law enforcement has a terrible record when it comes to the mentally ill, but one of the few bright spots are the PERT Teams.  When PERT is there, when PERT is allowed to take the lead, better decisions are made, and fewer brothers, fathers, sisters and mothers grieve the loss of their troubled family members.

The County of San Diego needs to increase funding for the mental health services we need; they must not put it off until COVID passes.  COVID makes mental health care so much more necessary!  They need to make sure there is PERT training available.  They need to make sure people like Mr Wilson can get help without having to have an encounter with the police.

As for National City, their Police Chief makes much of their newfound interest in de-escalation.  To him we say, we are watching you.  National City is the 2nd oldest Police Department in the County, and they have a history of interactions with unarmed people in mental crisis ending in death.  Let’s see if anything changes, or if you are just paying lip service to try to deflect our attention.

Francine Maxwell, President
NAACP San Diego Branch

Dr R Lee Brown to Head Citizen’s Justice Committee

During this time of unprecedented interest from our society in policing and racial justice, the NAACP San Diego Branch is pleased to announce that the distinguished Dr R. Lee Brown, UCSD Researcher in Government & Community Relations, and an expert in risk management, leadership, employee relations, and many other things, will be heading up an ad-hoc Citizen’s Justice Committee, focused on the reform of policing.  If you are interested in serving with Dr Brown and working on issues of race and policing, we invite you to fill out our Volunteer Interest Form, here: sandiegonaacp.org/volunteer

Neighborhood House Racial Justice Meeting

On June 29th, President Maxwell attended a meeting at Neighborhood House, where the San Diego Police Department shared answers to questions from the Urban League, their proposed de-escalation and other procedures, and the racial makeup of the Department.

2020-06-29-Neighborhood-House-SDPD-Community-Meeting

Sally Port Procedures Lead to Shooting

July 6, 2020

Last night around 8pm, a Latino man was left in a San Diego Police Department squad car outside the Sally Port.  He managed to slip his handcuffs and make his way into the trunk of the car.  There, he found an officer’s backpack with a spare weapon in it.  He took this weapon and then returned to the back seat of the vehicle.

When SDPD officers noticed the gun, they began to converge on the vehicle.  They allegedly felt threatened and opened fire on the man.  Next, they sent in a police dog to attack the injured man.

Now this 25-year-old man is injured and his family is traumatized.  Who knows how many others were in the area when the shooting occurred, who may have been struck by a stray bullet.  All because a man was left unsupervised in a vehicle in a crowded area.

There have been far too many dangerous incidents around the Sally Port.  It is up to Mayor Faulconer and the City Council to take control of the situation and get the SDPD to do the right thing.

We call on the US Attorney and FBI, who are already investigating officer-involved-shootings in the SDPD, to do a complete investigation of:

  • The Sally Port and associated polices and procedures, with a view toward the safety of officers, detainees, and the public at large.
  • Policies and procedures that allow detainees to be left unsupervised in vehicles, especially in highly-trafficked areas.
  • Polices and procedures regarding “backup weapons;” whether they are permitted and how they must be secured if permitted.

We offer our thoughts and prayers to the injured man’s family and friends.

Sincerely,

Francine Maxwell, President
NAACP San Diego Branch

Racial Profiling Spike is No Surprise

July 6, 2020

We read with interest the NBC report on an increase in racial profiling complaints (https://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/spike-in-racial-profiling-complaints-to-san-diego-police-department/2358982/).  We read with interest, yes—but not surprise.

The NAACP San Diego Branch President spoke to Chief Nisleit, Executive Chief Guaderrama and Assistant Chief Lucas last week, and told them that officers from special units of the San Diego Police Department who come into the Southeastern Police Division area use terms like “those people” and then switch to another channel and say “Four riding deep in a car down Imperial” or Skyline Drive.  “Those people” and “Four” are used to mean African-Americans or Latinx residents.  Police Sergeants monitor these radio channels, and they say nothing about this racist language.

Language matters, and what our new officers hear is what they learn, so racist language must not be permitted by SDPD.  Furthermore, such language, while offensive in itself, while demoralizing to the African-American and Latinx officers who hear it, is a clue to racist attitudes that may lead to biased policing (as shown in the NBC report), police violence, and police murder.  Such language must not only be impermissible, but those who use it must be subject to sanction, preferably removal from the police force.

Even more concerning is the fact that Police Sergeants approve this behavior by their silence.  What does that say about the supposed “Community Policing” goals of Chief Nisleit’s department?  What does that say about future leadership, when the SDPD continues to refuse to bring in outside leaders, and instead relies solely on promoting from within this pool of officers so obviously tainted with racist language, attitudes, and behavior?

Even our own African-American police officers experience racial profiling.  When they’re off-duty, they get stopped by SDPD officers.  When they ask for why they were stopped, they get inadequate explanations that point clearly to racial profiling.  Their complaints to Internal Affairs, however, get called “unfounded.”  The San Diego Police Department seems to go to any length to avoid admitting that they have a problem with racial profiling, permitting even the racial harassment of their own officers.

All of this simply underscores the need for the replacement of the current captive CRB with an independent Commission on Police Practices, so the IA department’s whitewashing of complaints can be exposed and remedied.

America’s Finest City deserves America’s Finest Leadership, not an inbred racist culture in the upper echelons of the San Diego Police Department.

Francine Maxwell, President
NAACP San Diego Branch