SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — San Diego civil rights activists Thursday revealed new data, claiming it shows that San Diego Sheriff's Department is not doing enough to prevent excessive force instances.
Activists with the People's Association of Justice Advocates revealed new information highlighting the number of deputies currently with the department that have more than two sustained violations of Department Policy and Procedures when it comes to the department's use of force policy.
According to the records, the Sheriff's Department has identified three deputies with two or more sustained violations. The department also identified there are 31 deputies with two or more unfounded allegations of a violation of excessive force. According to the department, unfounded means not true or the allegations did not occur.
People's Association of Justice Advocates founder Shane Harris says multiple violations show a pattern of behavior. He questioned why the department is keeping those employees on the job.
"They're not all bad. But there's some truth to some of the cops in our county blocks in our county sheriff's department, who probably are using excessive force, and it's probably not going to the proper channels to be able to provide a fair and impartial investigation or reviews from the independent board that is supposed to be doing this work," said Shane Harris, president of the People's Association of Justice Advocates.
The data presented was compiled using information from the group got from public records request to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.
“Why is the standard so low for people who are policing our neighborhoods,” Harris said. “They are paid by the taxpayer. And then the taxpayer is having to pay for the problem because of a rogue cop.”
Harris and other community activists also called on the County of San Diego to build a more robust oversight body.
In response, SDSO said it values the community's concerns about the use of force and will thoroughly investigate any complaints brought to its attention:
"We support the mission of the Citizen's Law Enforcement Review Board and support their efforts to investigate complaints related to the Sheriff's Department. We also recognize and value the community's concerns related to use of force incidents associated with our department and will thoroughly investigate the complaints when brought to our attention.
The number of CLERB complaints likely will not match the number of Sheriff's complaints. CLERB complaints and Sheriff's IA Complaints are completely separate complaints. A complaint may or may not have been reported to both entities. A person may have chosen to report an incident only to the Sheriff's Department or only to CLERB or sometimes both. Both entities conduct their own separate investigations and do not share or compare information with the other. So there may be times we decide to do our own internal investigation regarding a use of force incident, but CLERB may or may not be involved. Or a citizen may choose to report an allegation of excessive force directly to CLERB and never notify the Sheriff's Department. These are some reasons why the two data sets don't match up the same.
CLERB independently and impartially investigates citizen complaints against San Diego County Sheriff's deputies and probation officers. CLERB was established in 1990. The use of force complaint data supplied by CLERB were since their inception in 1990, so over 30 years of information.
We have 2562 sworn employees."