Inmates take in fresh air at San Quentin State Prison in Marin County.

On the Inside of an Outbreak: How COVID-19 Spread in San Quentin

We had zero infections inside San Quentin since the lockdown was implemented. We thought we’d be going back to school soon, attending college classes, self-help and enjoying contact visits with family. But, on May 30, buses pulled up from a Chino prison where COVID-19 had run rampant. One hundred and twenty-one men exited those buses, some showing symptoms of COVID-19, according to medical personnel working in the prisons receiving area.

WeCopwatch trainer David Whitt teaching a copwatch college session in San Francisco in 2018. Now, due to social distancing guidelines, the curriculum that is normally taught in person during copwatch college has been made available online.

Interest in Community Police Watch Training Soars as Courses Go Online

Berkeley Copwatch is one of several Bay Area organizations that instruct observers in how to record interactions between the public and law enforcement officials that are seeing a surge in demand for their services. The groups have shifted their tactics and focused more resources on online course delivery in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the surge in protests. They’re also ramping up misconduct tracking efforts and social media campaigns as the public focus on police brutality heightens.

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S.F. Police Accessed Private Cameras to Surveil Protesters, Digital Privacy Group Reveals

When a tech executive helped bankroll a private network of security cameras in San Francisco, it was touted as crime-fighting technology that would not be directly in the control of law enforcement. But a report from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital privacy advocacy group, shows that the San Francisco Police Department gained remote access to this private camera network for days at a time during protests in late May and early June. The privacy group says that access was a violation of San Francisco law. The camera network in question is managed by the Union Square Business Improvement District. Emails obtained by the foundation show that the group received, and approved, a request from SFPD to obtain remote access to the cameras for 48 hours on May 31.

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Critics Applaud S.F. School District Move to End Police Presence

Parents applauded the San Francisco school board’s recent move to cut ties with the San Francisco Police Department in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests that have highlighted racial bias in policing. The Board of Education voted on June 23 to overhaul the San Francisco Unified School District’s relationship with police. The decision means that from now on, police can enter San Francisco’s public schools only in emergencies, such as in active shooter cases. Advocates, parents and former teachers say that school resource officers – as police designated to work with schools are known — are often called by staff and parents in situations that don’t warrant police intervention, such as for schoolyard fights or to discipline misbehaving students. This often escalates already tense situations and leads to disproportionate disciplining of Black, Latinx and other minority students, critics say.

Landlords Threaten to Sue Over S.F. Eviction Ban

A landlords’ group plans to sue San Francisco over tenant protections established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the organization’s executive director. The Board of Supervisors this month approved a permanent ban on evictions for rents unpaid from mid-March through July. An earlier local eviction moratorium would have allowed landlords to start pursuing evictions of tenants for any remaining unpaid rents — even those due during the emergency — by the end of December. The end date of the eviction ban is based on an executive order by Gov. Gavin Newsom, who could extend the time period. The switch to a permanent ban galvanized the San Francisco Apartment Association, a property owners group with thousands of members, to threaten legal action.

Lydia Chavez

Appointees to Police Oversight Body Lack Reform Chops, Legislators Find

Last Monday, for seven hours, the Rules Committee of the Board of Supervisors met to grill two of Mayor London Breed’s nominees for the city’s Police Commission, Nancy Tung and Geoffrey Gordon-Creed. The commission acts as an oversight body for the police department. Lydia Chávez, executive editor of Mission Local, covered the meeting and noted that in the current climate of protests against police brutality and advocacy for reform, the supervisors found the candidates inadequately prepared to answer questions about local topics in police reform. The supervisors on this committee voted a motion to their colleagues on the full board, which is slated to vote on whether or not to reject the appointees Tuesday, June 9. The meeting begins at 2 p.m. and this is item 13.

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Police Chief Urges Continued S.F. Curfew Until Looting, Violence End

San Francisco remains under an 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew in the wake of a nationwide civil uprising over the death of George Floyd, an African-American man killed at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis. During a Monday morning press conference, San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott said he is cautioning Mayor London Breed not to end the curfew too soon.