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San Francisco mayor unveils plan for police reform

Andrew Cuomo

San Francisco has unveiled a new police reform plan with the hope of addressing structural inequities and fundamentally change the nature of policing in the city.

Mayor London Breed detailed a road map for the reforms on Thursday.

“If we’re going to make real significant change, we need to fundamentally change the nature of policing itself,” Breed said in a panel discussion with San Francisco Police Chief William Scott and CNN’s Van Jones. “Let’s take this momentum and this opportunity at this moment to push for real change.”

She proposed four priorities to achieve this vision, but here’s the key point: San Francisco Police Department officers would stop responding to issues like disputes between neighbors, reports about homeless people and school discipline interventions as part of the plan.

The new reforms would strengthen accountability, address police bias and include plans to demilitarizing the police and promote economic justice, she said.

“We know that a lack of equity in our society overall leads to a lot of the problems that police are being asked to solve,” Breed said. “We are going to keep pushing for additional reforms and continue to find ways to reinvest in communities that have historically been underserved and harmed by systemic racism.”

She added that the city has made progress reforming the police department, but there is still significant work to be done.

Breed’s words were echoed by Scott.

“We understand that it’s necessary for law enforcement to listen to the African American community and embrace courageous changes to address disparate policing practices, and we recognize it will take sacrifice on our part to fulfill the promise of reform,” Scott said.

San Francisco has already banned choke holds and requires officers to intervene in cases of excessive force, according to a statement from the mayor’s office. Additionally, San Francisco bans officers from shooting at moving vehicles, requires officers to use the minimum amount of force necessary, and requires comprehensive reporting when force is used.

Breed has directed the police department to write a policy banning the barring the use of military-grade weapons against unarmed civilians, like tear gas, bayonets and tanks.

This reform effort will focus on changing the police department’s hiring, promotional, training, and disciplinary systems, and redirect funding to invest in marginalized communities.

The new plan proposed by the mayor will build on San Francisco’s ongoing work to meet the standards contained in former President Barack Obama’s 2015 Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

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