San Diego ACLU Weighs In on SDPD’s Race Data Report

SAN DIEGO – On Wednesday, February 25, San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman will present the department’s demographic data on vehicle stops to the San Diego City Council’s Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods (PSLN) Committee.

The ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties sent a letter today to Marti Emerald, the Chair of the PSLN Committee and other committee members commending the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) for collecting and reporting a full year’s worth of data on vehicle stops, but raising a number of concerns about whether or how that data was being analyzed.

The department’s own figures show that race appears to be a determining factor in whether a driver is stopped and once stopped, subjected to a discretionary search.

The San Diego ACLU joins with scores of community partners in calling for a thorough, independent analysis to interpret the data in a way that is meaningful to helping the police chief attain her stated goal: “I will not tolerate any instances of racial profiling” rather than fall back on the continuing assertion that no conclusions can be drawn.

Further, the ACLU calls for that independent analysis to determine whether the demographic data is being collected on all vehicle stops and, if not, whether data is being collected on a representative sample. We are concerned that more data collection is needed, including the racial makeup of pedestrian stops, data that currently is not being collected let alone analyzed. Please find links here to the raw data, provided to the ACLU by the SDPD under the Public Records Act. The data is public information and we think it is important for the public to have the opportunity to independently sift through the information. [The report is split into two files because the original file was so large. Part 1. Part 2.]

When even the Director of the FBI acknowledges that unconscious bias pervades law enforcement and that much work needs to be done to correct it, it is time for our local law enforcement agents to do the right thing and advance policies and practices that promote bias-free policing.