Independent panel calls for increased transparency, accountability at SFPD

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The independent panel investigating racist text messages within the San Francisco Police Department released their findings Monday morning.

The panel came out swinging at the Police Officers Association, saying that its leadership was a detriment to the police department.

The panel, consisting of three retired judges, whose work was done by several law firms pro bono. It released 72 findings and 81 recommendations.

One of the key findings is that black and Latino people were searched without consent by SFPD far more than white and Asian people, and that the rates at which contraband was found were much lower for blacks and Latinos.

The panel called this a red flag for racial bias.

One of the justices had harsh words for the POA, "The POA leadership sets the tone for the police department. And historically it's been an ugly one. It's reflected by the fact that the POA has intimidated officers who wanted to come forward to talk to us but expressed fear of retaliation."

The panel convened last May, one month after SFPD's racist texting scandal where officers were found to have sent racist and homophobic text messages to each other.

“I don't believe that change will come from within the police department. Those that have the power are the board that governs the city and county of San Francisco and the mayor,” said Justice Cruz Reynoso with the Supreme Court Blue Ribbon Panel. 

The police officer's association has criticized  District Attorney and former San Francisco Police Chief George Gascon, saying he handpicked this panel and refused to hear from any witnesses who disagreed with him.

Today the POA blasted Gascon saying, "on Thursday, a sniper in Dallas took aim at police officers and murdered five in cold blood. Today George Gascon is taking aim at police officers in San Francisco with half- truths and distortions," said Marty Halloran.

Halloran went on to call the panel a kangaroo court and that a legitimate US Department of Justice review is underway, and they're going to wait for that to come out.

More information on the blue-ribbon panel and the full report can be found at the following link: