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Study: SDPD large disparities in interactions with minorities vs. white residents

San Diego detectives investigating death of man in police custody
Posted at 4:39 PM, Jun 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-18 13:47:16-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- A new study showed there are significant disparities in police interactions between black and brown San Diegans compared to their white neighbors.

Thursday morning, there was an honest conversation about policing in San Diego at Police headquarters. It began with Mayor Todd Gloria admitting there must be an improvement.

"We as a city will own this, and we will work to be better," Gloria said.

In 2019, the San Diego Police department partnered with a neutral third-party organization called the Center for Policing Equity (CPE) to analyze and identify any racial disparities in traffic stops, pedestrian stops, or use of force.

"Racial disparities are important to measure because they shed light on specific sources of frustrations and the risk of harmful outcomes in communities and is an essential step in identifying effective reforms," Michael Burbank with CPE said.

The three-year CPE study took into consideration crime rates, poverty rates, and neighborhood demographics and found these key statistics:

  1. Black people experienced non-traffic stops 4.2 times more than white people.
  2. At a traffic stop, black people were searched 2.5 times more, and LatinX people were searched 2.2 times more than white people.
  3. Black people were subjected to use of force 4.8 times more than white San Diegans.

"We acknowledged that changes are necessary to modernize policing, and in fact, the members of the community are demanding those changes," Mayor Gloria said.

Chief David Nisleit said the department began implementing changes in the last year, including abolishing the carotid restraint, updated de-escalation tactics, and a new guide for interacting with transgender and non-binary individuals. He anticipates more policy changes in the near future.

"Disparity does not equal discrimination," Chief Nisleit said. "It makes us look at that to make certain that it is not and that we are not showing bias. That's one of the things I promise we will continue to do that and training. But this is going to be a great roadmap to see where we can make improvements."

San Diegans can view the full report online HERE.

There will be a virtual community forum held jointly by SDPD and CPE on June 22, 2021, at 5:30 p.m. The public is encouraged to submit input and join discussions. RSVP online HERE.