‘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…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) San Francisco police officers are no longer allowed to use tear gas and they will not respond to non-criminal calls, according to new reforms passed by Mayor London Breed.
The reforms, which Breed unveiled on Thursday, aim to “[end] the use of police in response to non-criminal activity; [address] police bias and [strengthen] accountability; [demilitarize] the police; and [promote] economic justice.”
This means that the San Francisco Police Department must get rid of weapons that are classified as military-grade, including tear gas, by 2021.
The city will also develop a new system to deal with non-criminal calls, Breed said.
“San Francisco has made progress reforming our police department, but we know that we still have significant work to do,” she said in a statement.
“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,” she continued. “We are going to keep pushing for additional reforms and continue to find ways to reinvest in communities that have historically been under-served and harmed by systemic racism.”
The San Francisco Police Department must also change the way it hires and promotes officers, and increase training and disciplinary action for those who violate the department’s policies.
Democrat-controlled cities across the country are passing similar reforms. The Minneapolis City Council even went so far as to pass a resolution that would allow the city to begin dismantling its police department entirely.
“Our city needs a public safety capacity that doesn’t fear our residents, that doesn’t need a gun at a community meeting, that considers itself part of our community, that doesn’t resort quickly to pepper spray when people are understandably angry, that doesn’t murder black men,” Minneapolis council member Steve Fletcher said.
It is not clear how the Minneapolis City Council plans to address emergencies or respond to crime without its police department, but council member Lisa Bender has claimed its replacement will be a “transformative new model of public safety.”
Bender said it was a “privilege” of the white community to be able to expect police to respond to emergency calls, although much of the work of law-enforcement takes place in low-income minority-heavy communities.