The police weren’t doing a good job of policing themselves. That’s the basic thrust of a yearlong Justice Department review of the San Diego Police Department released Tuesday.
Police and city officials had asked for the feds’ help after 17 officer misconduct cases in recent years and multiple lawsuits and criminal trials had uncovered evidence of systemic problems within the department for handling officer discipline.
The report largely confirmed those concerns.
“On a broad level, [researchers] did not identify any particular policy failure or common underlying factor that tied the misconduct cases together,” the report said. “Rather, it was gaps in policies and practices, a lack of consistent supervision at many levels and a failure to hold personnel accountable that allowed misconduct to occur and go undetected for some time.”
Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman, who was hired in the midst of the misconduct scandal last year, pledged to implement the 40 reforms recommended in the report and emphasized that many were already being implemented.
Here are three key takeaways from the report:
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
So lets see, Tai the guy who was to report the sexual exploits of a rogue cop and ignored them or gave a verbal warning gets promoted to captain for not doing his job. Sounds about right for this corrupt department, and corrupt government that runs this city.
Why not have the developers and hotel owners take over the police department, after all they are the true leaders of city government.
So, to summarize, the report essentially blasts SDPD intermediate leadership (sergeants, lieutenants, captains, deputy chiefs) for essentially tolerating misconduct or failing to properly supervise and document. "Public service inquiries" essentially result in "counseling" - a verbal correction of a training issue - or they are ignored completely as the citizen is deemed uncredible. And a "sexual assault" of a detainee is a public service problem. In any event, they tend to be undocumented.
The current Chief was promoted from that intermediate leadership, and Sergeant Tai is now Captain Tai. La Mesa's new chief used to be an Assistant Chief at SDPD, also rising up through the ranks of misconduct. And, of course, we are told that leadership is committed to implementation of the recommendations of the report.
Does San Diego really want to accept that failed leadership on so many levels should be trusted with a culture change so complete? "I realize I didn't do my job well in the last five years, but I'm committed to doing it well now" is not a justifiable excuse in light of the magnitude of the failures. (Interesting side note, Tai was promoted AFTER Zimmerman read the report (SDPD got it earlier than everyone else) and AFTER he was deposed and his supervision called into question. How committed to change can she be if her conduct shows that she KNEW he failed in a subordinate position and still determined that he should move up?)
A better result would be giving the Civilian Review Board actually investigative power as an administrative board that can take evidence and make findings and policy changes, but also be able to monitor policy implementation. Some complaints may still "fall through the cracks," but at least an independent investigation can ask why they are receiving a second, third, fourth, etc., complaint against a specific officer for a similar offense.
I suppose that biased policing does not qualify as misconduct. Contrary to assertions made (or avoided) by the Chief, San Diego has a Practice and Policy of disparate treatment of Blacks and Hispanics and Asians (preferential.) This Practice results in the disparities that were too ugly for PERF to include or mention; so its dodge
Blacks have the lowest Stop to Citation rate. It is 78.42% to that of Whites (suggesting that they are often stopped for DWB) Hispanics are cited at 99.94% of the rate experienced by Whites.
Blacks are arrested at a rate that is 143.50% to that of Whites. Hispanics 124.24%.
Blacks are searched at a rate that is 325.64% to that of Whites. Hispanics 207.24%.
Blacks are found to have contraband at a rate that is 59.68% to that of Whites, Hispanics 59.82% Asians 92.11%
Hispanics have their property seized 213.13% that of Whites, Blacks 211.87%, Asians 82.85%
Hispanics have their vehicles searched at a rate that is 235.41% that of Whites, Blacks 333.55%, Asians 132.55%
Passengers in vehicles driven by Blacks are searched at a rate that is 418.42% of the rate when the driver is White. If the driver is Hispanic, passengers are searched 172.22% as often as the passengers of White drivers.
There are several other categories that I examined, eight or nine. I cannot bother to type them here. All the above is San Diego's data.
These disparities are, independent of of demographic considerations; The SDPD's subterfuge. They merely reflect or report on what happens after people are stopped. Again, all this is in the SDPD's data
If I am not mistaken, much of the country was flabbergasted by Ferguson's 1.37% Disparity Index.
Finally; numbers never lie but they can be hidden, especially when they are in plain sight.
@rhylton Excellent points of consideration, but beyond the scope of this particular inquiry, the questions here related to how misconduct could be occurring for such a extended length of time.