Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
KPBS Midday Edition

Black Student Organizations Question San Diego Police Policies

Black Student Organizations Question San Diego Police Policies
Black Student Organizations Question San Diego Police Policies
Black Student Organizations Question San Diego Police Policies GUEST:Mark Jones, president, Black Student Justice Coalition

Our top story on midday edition, what is that the status of the relationship between San Diego police in the black community in the center go? Is it good and being strengthened by committee Lisa partnerships, or is it intense, strange, and any classy have seen in other cities like Ferguson in Baltimore. The answer to that question depends largely on who you ask. Last night doing a city Council committee meeting at the Jacob Center in southeastern San Diego which included sending a police chief Shelley Zimmerman, their questions raised about police policies toward a black San Diego One of the people raising those questions was my guess Mark Joan president of the black student Justice coalition will come to the program. Think. We contacted chief Shelley Zimmerman office invited her or her designated spokesperson to join this discussion, but no one was available at this time. What message it did you want to bring to the city Council members that were assembled at that meeting last night. Yesterday's meeting was about delivering dissenting -- San Diego police department to the perp report in this report was pretty much issue because of the sexual assault and harassment issues that have been hidden in the San Diego police to them. We want to send a message that harassment is going across the board in the form of racial profiling and gained doctor-patient process which was involved in the 182.5 Penal Code arrest. We saw chief Zimmerman made a push to show how much and how active the police are in the committee and that's to be commended, there is still a glossing over of this racial profiling issue and is getting stuck mentation which we consider racial profiling on steroids. I think most people listening are aware of what racial provide is. Perhaps you could explain a little more about gang at Dr. mentation policy that you opposed to the There's a database which holds nine criteria. You can document someone as a gang member. These criteria, some would be things like the color of the shirt or a gang science if they see that or you associating with someone who they believed to be a gang member. You can be in gang territory. Police department says you have to have to call them contacts. Contact can be a basic picture. A contact can be an officer stopping you on the road and he believes he saw you associating with something else that is a known a member. Sandy go police department makes it three contacts. The way these contacts are initiated whether it's Facebook post or hang out in your own neighborhood which just might he wear a ring is at, it really is merely nothing more than a racial profiling. It is a guilt by association. It's really hindering our committee as a color. You see just Easter a man was working to church parking lot he was stopped and has his hands behind his back and handcuffed and they took pictures of his tattoos, asking if they had weapons. This is all without doing anything wrong so it's as if you waive our right to document these people in the travesty is you don't know your document it until you find out something like the one in 2.5 get arrested by the way you like a number. Or you get arrested greatness demeanor crime and now you have 10 years as opposed to what the crime would have which is maybe three because now, we document it to you as a gang member and you didn't do. The organization you represent is asking the mirror to rein in the Police Department. What does that mean? We would like the mayor to put as much focus as he is on keeping the charges here on at this very important issue because surely black flies matter. What we are asking for is -- for is a task force that reach out this bias that is in the San Diego Police Department. That would be their sole responsibility, making sure the communities of color and pretty much that whole spectrum of people the police interact with are treated fairly, without bias. This needs to be independent. Eight cannot be a task force that is involved through the pleased program. We need independent investigation. There is a study underway, a professor is conducting to see if racial profiling at topic stops in San Diego is a problem. It has been to mission by the Police Department. Do you see that as a sign the police are taking this issue Tracy. I would like to see that as a sign, but I believe it's more lip service. The data released their own data that shows there is racial profiling. If they see it themselves and did not try to hide it there, I don't know how an independent investigation will help to make the shoot any better. When asked point-blank we, if they are is a racial profiling issue by Councilman Shiva cement glossed over the issue should -- nobody is willing to admit the problem exists. Because they're not willing to admit the problem exists, it sounds similar to wide that report had to be released in the study needed to be done. You weren't admitting there is a serious problem with sexual harassment in the police department. Cannot teach me to gloss over the issues and expect committees of color to rebuild trust without please pick a You're saying the gang documentation are parts of an ongoing intimation of the black community. The police would point to statistics, I'm thinking they may that show gang violence and gang homicides are way down in San Diego since those policies went into effect. In one way, you could make the argument that the policies are working. What is your argument to counter that. Why should they be changed? That is the debate. Do please lower crime or is it having academic things in your community banking gets people in schools or jobs were they don't have to find new families and new things to spend their time. Is it really the police that is one crime or is it now we have an economy that is providing resources to committees were normally are very poor. If you look at Baltimore and Ferguson, those are an oppressed people with your press people long enough, they react in ways most of America made find volatile. This on the way they go they can get attention. All gang is it to be his reaction. I don't have the same opportunities as one in this neighborhood. That could be debated whether it is the police that are lowering again crime or is it more there's opportunities now pick a What has Ferguson in Baltimore and other issues across the country, what has that done to fire up and inspire this movement that is starting to gain publicity in San Diego? Is a national spotlight on the issue. This has been going on for years. Institutional racism, from the police department in the committees. This has been going on for years and now there is a spotlight and camera phones, and Facebook etc. tools that we have to bring this to let that we did not have before. Yes, there is a national movement that will spark in Ferguson and now there's a spotlight on every incident. It shows disproportionately across the nation that communities of color and judicial system is not judging these cases fairly. It is letting individuals off that have killed and have seen it on video. There's an underlying unfair system when it comes to people of color picker Did you find anything positive in last nights meeting? I can I thought a lot positive. The San Diego Police Department, a bunch of the captains got up and spoke about the Trinity work and showed pictures and I was smiling all the way through it because it showed a lot of these hashtag and 90% want to good and are doing good work in our 20s. I commend chief Zimmerman on the job she does in the committee to make sure her police force is out there. This issue, you can't tell Johnny let him why your punching him. You have to deal with these issues. What I saw is a lot of the community seem to revolve around kids. Kids naturally think police officers are heroes. Where's the work being done with high schools and colleges. I am in my own thinker and I can see reality versus my what I think of you as a hero. I didn't see much of that. It goes to show there's still work to be done. Mark Jones president of the black student Justice coalition thank you very much.

Members of two black student organizations held a rally Wednesday in response to a presentation by San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman about changes made after a U.S. Department of Justice review of her department.

Before the presentation during a City Council Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee meeting at the Jacobs Center on Euclid Avenue, students from the Black Student Justice Coalition and the African American Men of the Student African American Brotherhood held a rally and called on the department to end racial profiling in San Diego.

The students raised questions about police policies regarding traffic stops and gang documentation.

Mark Jones, president of the Black Student Justice Coalition, said he wants Mayor Kevin Faulconer to put as much focus on the police department as he is on keeping the Chargers in San Diego. He said he wants officers to be independently investigated when claims are made against them.

“Just make sure that communities of color are treated fairly — without bias,” Jones told KPBS Midday Edition on Thursday. “It can’t be a task force through the police department. We need independent investigations.”

Jones also spoke about the CalGang System, a state database that tracks gang members. He said officers determine who’s a gang member by racially profiling members of the public.

“It’s merely nothing more than racial profiling,” he said. “It’s guilt by association, and it’s hindering our community. It’s as if we waive our rights to document these folks.”

The Department of Justice released a report earlier this year focusing on 17 cases of misconduct within the San Diego Police Department. The report findings included: leaders not adequately addressing smaller problems and the lack of consistent supervision.

KPBS invited Zimmerman or a designated spokesperson to join this discussion but officers said no one was available for Thursday’s Midday show.