Ever since San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee told the San Francisco Chronicle that he thought a "stop-and-frisk" policy could help quell gun violence in the city, he has faced criticism from community groups and some city leaders. The Board of Supervisors backed a proposal that Supervisor Malia Cohen introduced last week, urging the mayor to reconsider the plan.
Today, Lee issued a statement clarifying his position on "stop and frisk," which lets police officers stop and search people they suspect of carrying weapons. Civil liberties groups say that such policies promote racial profiling. Lee made his initial comments after he spoke with Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York, one of several cities that already has a stop-and-frisk policy in place.
In his statement, Lee said he would not consider a policy "that would violate anyone’s constitutional rights or that would result in racial profiling."
The release of Lee's written comments coincides with a rally held by Cohen and the Black Young Democrats of San Francisco at City Hall.
Read Lee's full statement below:
The month of June in San Francisco experienced a spike in shootings and homicides in our Southeast neighborhoods. This is unacceptable and while I take this issue extremely seriously, I want to be clear that I have not considered implementing a policy in San Francisco that would violate anyone’s constitutional rights or that would result in racial profiling. I have stated that I am willing to look at what other cities are doing to reduce gun violence, including cities like New York and Philadelphia that both have stop and frisk programs.
I have been meeting with community leaders, have attended services to meet with congregants and have met with law enforcement about this issue. We share grave concerns about gun violence and its disproportionate impact on communities of color and youth in San Francisco. We need to do more.
Public safety can only be achieved through collaboration and partnership between law enforcement and the communities we all serve. Community policing and community development efforts have important roles to play in the prevention of violence, and I will continue to meet with community leaders and faith based organizations to advance these priorities.
I want to be very clear. As a former human rights director and civil rights attorney, I hold the individual protections afforded to us all under the 4th Amendment as sacrosanct. As we continue our discussions to reduce violence and get guns out of our communities, I will not support, nor will I put forward any proposal that will violate any such protections, but I am willing to move forward with bold ideas that get to results.
I will continue to work with the community to end gun violence in San Francisco.