San Francisco leaders chastised the U.S. Department of Justice after DOJ announced plans to refocus involvement in local policing away from reform and community trust toward fighting violent crime and gangs. The largely voluntary program to work with police departments facing problems (often in the aftermath of police shootings) was reportedly criticized by Attorney General Jeff Sessions as causing antipolice attitudes. City officials saw it differently.
“We made a pledge to the people of this city that we would transform our police department into a model of 21st century law enforcement, and we intend to honor that commitment, regardless of the involvement of the Department of Justice,” Mayor Ed Lee said in a statement issued by his office.
District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen said, “We’re disappointed but unsurprised by the announcement that the DOJ will no longer invest in police reform for San Francisco. The Justice Department made clear in 2016 that there are tangible, pointed changes that need to occur in SFPD to make our city safer and rebuild trust between community members and the police. Divesting from reform only compounds the distrust that constituents hold.”