Civil Liberties

Secrecy and criminality in the SFPD

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Today’s Chronicle unveils more problems at the scandal-plagued San Francisco Police Department, as well as the District Attorney’s Office, raising new questions about their commitment to public accountability and protecting civil liberties at a time when the SFPD is seeking more authority and asking for the public’s trust.Read more »

Coming soon to “a San Francisco sidewalk near you”

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Early this month, San Francisco Police Chief George Gascon explained to the Guardian his rationale for a proposed sit / lie ordinance, which would make it illegal to sit down or lie down on San Francisco sidewalks. “We’re responding to quite frankly what is a tremendous groundswell of pressure from residents and business people about very aberrant, aggressive behavior,” he said. “We don’t have an existing tool to deal with that behavior,” in the form of other city ordinances, he said.

The proposal has been discussed officially during public hearings at the San Francisco Police Commission, the Board of Supervisors Public Safety Committee, and in a series of editorials at local media outlets. It’s shaping up to be quite controversial.

And if an upcoming event sparked by the debate surrounding sit-lie is any indication, there is a “tremendous groundswell of pressure” on the other side of the coin, too. A group of organizers who recently created a Facebook group called “San Francisco Stands Against Sit-Lie” are also the architects behind a daylong event to be staged on city sidewalks called “Sidewalks are for People!” The event will be held March 27, on “A San Francisco Sidewalk Near You,” according to the event announcement. Read more »