Black Young Democrats rally against stop and frisk

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PHOTO BY THEO ELLINGTON

A group organized by the San Francisco Black Young Democrats rallied at City Hall today. Their message: no to stop and frisk.

Members of the group, as well as the ACLU and the Asian Law Caucus, said the policy would violate the civil rights of San Franciscans.

Supervisors Malia Cohen, along with Avalos, Campos, and Mar also attended the rally and expressed their support. They co-sponsored a non-binding resolution, introduced by Cohen,  that condemned the idea of implementing stop and frisk in San Francisco.

Mayor Ed Lee said he was considering implementing the controversial policy a few weeks ago.

Under a stop and frisk policy, police have the leeway to stop and search people that they consider suspicious. On average, 85 percent of those stopped in New York City are young African American and Latino men.

Opponents say racial profiling is inevitably involved and that, for people who may be carrying minor contraband but no dangerous weapons, this racial profiling leads to selective enforcement of laws. About 87 percent of those stopped in New York were completely innocent, according to numbers compiled by the New York Civil Liberties Union.

Lee said he suggested the idea after a spike of gun violence in June. But it has generated a backlash, and at today’s rally about 75 showed up to present a petition signed by more than 2,000 asking the mayor not to implement the policy.

Joaquin Torres, director of that office, accepted it on Lee’s behalf.

Lee himself didn’t engage with the protesters, but he did issue a statement not an hour after they left City Hall “clarifying his position” on stop and frisk.

“I want to be clear that I have not considered implementing a policy in San Francisco that would violate anyone’s constitutional rights or that would result in racial profiling,” the statement reads.

Ellington said the statement was not enough. “We want Mayor Ed Lee to say that he will not implement stop and frisk in San Francisco, nor any policies that are like stop and frisk. No policies that infringe upon our civil liberties,” Ellington told the Guardian.

“These are predatory policing practices that we don’t want in our city,” he said.

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