When a long-awaited study on whether the San Diego Police Department engages in racial profiling finally dropped in late November, the results were unsurprising: It found that black and Hispanic drivers were more likely to be searched, though they were less likely to actually have contraband items, and that minority drivers were more likely to be subjected to field interviews.
When it came to the overarching question of whether officers and SDPD as a whole showed racial bias, however, San Diego State researchers were restrained: Though they found significant differences in the way minorities and white drivers were treated, researchers were careful to point out that such differences “are by no means unique to the SDPD” and that findings only “suggest” that implicit, or unconscious, bias “may exist” among officers.
But a draft copy of the study obtained by Voice of San Diego through public records requests was far more aggressive. City officials fought to avoid releasing the drafts publicly and said their disclosure “would likely increase community tension and discontent,” but copies were provided by San Diego State University, which conducted the study.
During the process of revising the study from a draft to the final version that was presented to the City Council, harsh language was softened and some findings were taken out entirely.
Among the changes:
• In more than two-dozen instances, the word “bias” was replaced with “disparities.”
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
City politics aside, one has to wonder why an SDSU academic would allow the subjects of his research to influence his conclusions. Instead of objective, literature-backed sociology, we instead are left with a fluff piece that made no waves and was easily ignored by the City government. This reflects poorly on SDSU, ever the little brother to the city's real research university up north on the 5.
San Diego can call itself the nation's "Finest City" because we consistently fail to look honestly at the real quality of life here for ALL our residents.
We continue to ignore our problems despite high-profile, high-quality reports like those from SDSU on police practices and an earlier (2004) Affordable Housing Task Force Report whose members were chaired by former City Manager Jack McGrory.
How can we call our San Diego even a "fine city" when it hides from racially driven police practices?
How can we call our San Diego even a "fine city" when there is a 7-10 year waiting list for emergency Section 8 rental housing vouchers?
How can we call our San Diego even a "fine city" when the median price to purchase a home here is $525,000 and virtually no family in the low or middle income range can even DREAM about owning a home?
Thank you, Kelly, for your diligence, BUT...
How in the world do we find leaders here in San Diego who take seriously what is still a state of emergency because of "a severe shortage of affordable housing" and a severe shortage of compassion for those struggling to make it in our "fine city" without the extra pressures of police practices which fall far short of being the FINEST in the Country.
Confession is good for the soul, but the confession must be that: it must be true in entirety; it must contain more than a spot of truth. OK, more than three spots.
As much as I would like to attribute many of the flaws in the report to misapprehension of data (and there is much of that) the combination of Asian/API with Other, so as to boost the numbers for that group comes straight from the City/SDPD. And, Chanin’s failure to include Warning results comes straight out of hell. Indeed, in spite of having more than 84,500 such warnings, Chanin was able to claim "on page 20, as a footnote, the SDSU analyst claim:“Because we do not have records of warnings given, there is no way to confirm this one way or another.” This came from a man who advocated early adoption of AB953, Section 12525.5 of which requires agencies to report the warning provided or violation cited (if any) (id., subd. (b)(4)) as well as the offense charged if an arrest was made (id., subd. (b)(4)). Accordingly, data values were included to satisfy these reporting obligations and to allow the RIPA Board to analyze, for example, whether racial disparities exist among certain categories of warnings….
Father Hylton has kicked Professor Chanin out of his confessional, after finding little or no truth in the man. May he come back with more truth, later.
The City said there were no electronic drafts, but SDSU found two emails with drafts (i.e., electronic drafts).
And the City's response to getting caught in their deception was . . . ?
@DavidM The City was not caught in a deception. The City engineered the deception. As far as I know, there was one honest/perceptive person in the group of City Council members who commissioned the study. That was Todd Gloria. You should log on to Granicus (the City's website) and watch/listen to his comments. I criticize him for having been far too polite.
Studies are shelved when the results don't match the culture of the organization that was studied. It was ever thus.