Xavier Becerra, Attorney General of California, announced on February 5, 2018 that the California Department of Justice had entered into an agreement with the City of San Francisco to serve as the monitor for the implementation of reforms in the San Francisco Police Department. The 272 reforms had previously been recommended in an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department’s Collaborative Reform program. On September 17, 2017, however, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions terminated the Collaborative Reform program, leaving the San Francisco reforms in limbo.
The action by the California Attorney General is one of two steps taken by state attorneys general to fill the void in police reform efforts left by the Trump Administration’s cancellation of both the Justice Department’s “pattern or practice” program and the Collaborative Reform program. In August 2017 the Illinois Attorney General filed suit against the Chicago Police Department for civil rights violations, and initiated the process of negotiating a consent decree which would require reforms in the CPD. The U.S. Justice Department had completed an investigation of the CPD in January 2017, but did not have sufficient time to negotiate a consent decree while Eric Holder was still in office.
Sam Walker hailed the actions by the California and Illinois AGs as filling the void left by the Trump administration’s disinterest in police reform. It’s going to “be kind of a beacon,” he told the Sacramento Bee, serving as a model for other state AGs.
The San Francisco action was requested by the Mayor of San Francisco, the police chief, and the City Attorney, indicating the strong support for reform in the SFPD among local officials. Under the agreement, Attorney General Becerra will review the SFPD’s implementation of the 272 reforms and submit independent reports on the status of implementation.
Read the AG’s press release: CAAGSFPressR
Read the Bee story here: CAAGSFBee
Read the Memorandum of Understanding here: CAAGSFMOU