5:16 pm Aug. 7, 2012
The mayor of San Fracisco announced today that he won't pursue a stop-and-frisk policy out of fear it could lead to "racial profiling," and will instead propose a more community-oriented approach which has yielded results in Boston.
A spokesman for Mayor Ed Lee told the San Francisco Chronicle that Lee "doesn't want to implement a policy that has the potential to include racial profiling." And according to the Chronicle:
[Police Chief Greg] Suhr said enforcement will be targeted, unlike New York City's version of stop and frisk. 'It will not be random,' he said. 'It will be focused.'"
The possibility that Lee might implement stop-and-frisk in a city as notoriously liberal as San Francisco was cheered by pro-police advocates in New York City as a validation of the controversial policy. Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute told me, "If San Francisco adopts it, it does provide a very strong counterargument to the knee-jerk reaction to the New York Times and the advocates and the lawsuit that is going on against the NYPD."
Instead, Lee's reversal provided some fresh fodder for the policy's critics.
"We encourage Mayor Bloomberg to take a page from Mayor Lee’s book," said New York City comptroller John Liu, who has called for the city to abandon the policy.
The strategy San Francisco is adopting—Operation Ceasefire—is the same one Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer endorsed in a recent column for The Nation.
Unlike stop-and-frisk, which uses frequent police stops across the city to discourage crime, Operation Ceasefire focuses on youthful offenders, and brings police, city agencies and local residents together to target specific high-crime areas.
But Operation Ceasefire has its own critics in cities like Washington and Los Angeles, where after some initial successes, the coalition "drifted apart and nobody in law enforcement or the community took responsibility for keeping it alive," according to a writer for Mother Jones.