SDPD cracks down on racial profiling

SAN DIEGO - In the wake of the fatal officer-involved shooting of an unarmed teen in Ferguson, Mo., the San Diego Police Department claims it is cracking down on racial profiling.

SDPD Chief Shelley Zimmerman released a video message Thursday stating that racial profiling will not be tolerated in the department.

Rallies for Michael Brown were held nationwide Thursday, including in San Diego, after the unarmed 18-year-old was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson.

Local African Americans told 10News they still fear police, and feel like they are being targeted because of the color of their skin.

“They automatically think, because you're a young black male, that you up to something or you selling drugs, or how did you get this nice car?” said one man at Thursday’s vigil in City Heights. He asked not to be identified.

In response to the ongoing tension, Zimmerman -- with the help of the Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association and the San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association -- released a public message urging San Diegans to report incidents of racial profiling in an effort to begin collecting data like the department did up until 2001.

“Members of our community, I want to be absolutely clear, the San Diego Police Department does not and will not tolerate any racial profiling or discourteous treatment by any of our officers or employees,” Zimmerman said in the video message.

“I don't believe we do racial profiling, “San Diego Police Department Captain David Nisleit told 10News. “You know, we're human beings and we have emotions, and we have families, and we're just trying to do the very best we can each day for every call that we go to.”

The San Diego Police Department has set up a racial profiling hotline. You can file a confidential complaint by calling 619-531-2672 and you can remain anonymous.

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