CA To Monitor San Francisco Police Reforms

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra will monitor reforms at the San Francisco Police Department, replacing recently ended federal oversight and crafting a new path for state officials to become law enforcement watchdogs after the Trump administration last year drastically cut federal investigations of troubled agencies.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra will monitor reforms at the San Francisco Police Department, replacing recently ended federal oversight and crafting a new path for state officials to become law enforcement watchdogs after the Trump administration last year drastically cut federal investigations of troubled agencies, reports the Sacramento Bee. “Simply because the federal government decided to abandon ship does not mean we were going to let the ball drop,” Becerra said. The move comes after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions largely ended the kind of civil rights investigations of law enforcement that have been a driving force behind police reforms across the U.S., whether through consent decrees or voluntary action.

San Francisco has been pursuing voluntary reforms. It requested a federal review of its police department in 2015 following the high-profile shooting of a black man, Mario Woods, by police and the disclosure of racist and homophobic texts between some officers. Other departments have been sued by the Justice Department and entered into consent decrees that legally mandate changes. In March, Sessions directed DOJ officials to review all such police reform activities. Georgetown law professor and Obama-era Department of Justice attorney Christy Lopez, who led the team that investigated police agencies, said California’s announcement was “really a step into the breach, into the gap, that was left by the Department of Justice departure from these cases.” She called it a “promising and important development” for agencies that want to continue reforms but lack the internal capacity to do so. The Illinois attorney general has sued to force the Chicago Police Department into a state-level consent decree based on an investigation of the agency by the Obama DOJ. “It’s going to set a standard, be kind of a beacon,” criminologist Samuel Walker of the University of Nebraska Omaha said of the California’s actions.

from https://thecrimereport.org