The following was a prepared testimony that urged the San Diego City Council to pass the PrOTECT ordinance. The testimony was delivered to San Diego City Council by ACLU-SDIC Policy Associate Chelsey Birgisdottir on April 13, 2021.

Good afternoon Council President Campbell and Councilmembers,

My name is Chelsey Birgisdottir. I am a policy associate at the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties. The ACLU is a proud member of the Coalition for Police Accountability & Transparency (CPAT).

We are here today to urge you, our City Councilmembers, to bring an end to over-policing and racially biased policing in our city by passing the PrOTECT ordinance.

PrOTECT will require probable cause for stops and searches. This will help end the San Diego Police Department’s practice of pretext stops and consent searches which SDPD’s own data shows the department uses disproportionately against Black and Brown people.

According to the Campaign Zero report, Evaluating Policing in San Diego, in 2018-2019, SDPD was 60 percent more likely to conduct consent searches of Latinos and 23 percent more likely to conduct consent searches of Black people than consent searches of white people. This was true even though Brown and Black people were far less likely to be found with contraband during these searches.

Most recently, the San Diego Union Tribune released their analysis of police data from July 2018 to December 2020. They found that nearly one in five stops initiated by SDPD involved Black people, even though Black people make up less than 6 percent of our city’s population. SDPD were also one and a half times more likely to grab, shoot or use other types of force against Black and Latino residents than they were against white people.

Each of your offices have heard from CPAT, the Community Budget Alliance and other concerned groups about why our city needs this important ordinance. The fact of the matter is that we can neither hire nor train our way out of this very serious problem.

San Diegans deserve laws that explicitly safeguard all communities from over-policing and biased policing.

This is a transformational moment. San Diego can be transformational too.

PrOTECT is your opportunity to demonstrate through decisive action, your commitment to racial justice and equity.

We urge the city council to support PrOTECT.

Thank you for your time and careful consideration.