San Francisco’s district attorney mandated that 3,000 criminal cases be reviewed by a special committee of judges so as to reassess the decisions taken. It is no longer certain that these cases have been properly handled after 14 police officers are believed to have been influenced by their strong bias towards race and sexual orientation.
The case against the 14 officers is based on several text messages that they have sent involving extremely offensive references to African-Americans, Mexicans, Filipinos and homosexuals. It represents an extension of the prior investigation of police officer Ian Furminger, who is presently serving 41 months of jail time for corruption charges.
It is Furminger’s messages that attracted attention and the investigation was continued for their recipients. The text messages contained details about lynching African Americans and recommendations that they be spayed.
From the 3,000 cases, those involving imprisoned people will constitute the priority. The committee will consist of three retired judges who will be conduct the reevaluation pro-bono. Some ongoing cases might be dismissed and some closed cases might be overturned.
After people have continuously raised awareness about police brutality towards African-Americans lately, from Baltimore and Ferguson and towards the entire US, authorities feel that it is unacceptable that such things go on in America.
“If just one individual was wrongly imprisoned because of bias on the part of these officers, that’s one too many,” said District Attorney George Gascon.
But he also admitted that some cases of misconduct have taken place on his watch, for which he feels “terrible”. He hopes that this review will be enough of a start towards correcting his errors.
The cases involved date back for about 10 years and it is Mr. Gascon’s hope that the committee can go through all of them by the end of the year.
Reverend Amos Brown of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People brought up the unnatural current situation of San Francisco. He pointed out that despite the fact that the African American population of the city amounts to a mere 5 percent, these citizens constitute up to 70 percent of the people in the juvenile halls of San Francisco.
For this, he believes that everybody is guilty, from Republicans to Democrats and from judges to police officers. He regards it as a moral issue, a problem of perspective that has not been rid of the racist concepts that have plagued the past.
These 3000 cases under review in San Francisco come as part of a national movement against police brutality towards African Americans. Other programmes, such as President Obama’s body camera pilot study are under development, in order to prevent similar actions from reoccurring.
Image Source: ssf.net