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San Francisco Stop-and-Frisk


Sister Boom Boom was wacky, but fun. Bay-to-Breakers is wacky, but fun. “Stop and Frisk” and threatening to shutdown City College are wacky, but also ominous and dangerous proposals. San Francisco at its root is a fairly progressive city. We’ve taken a political right turn since Gavin Newsom (care not cash) and it seems we might take a hard-right turn with Mayor Ed Lee considering a “Stop and Frisk” policy.

Ask any African-American male teenager or adult under 30 years of age and you’ll quickly understand that we already have “Stop and Frisk” in San Francisco. It’s an unwritten policy which we have struggled against since “Negros/blacks/Africans” arrived in numbers after WWII. However, to formalize such a blatantly racist policy is not just a human rights violation, but it actually authorizes African-Americans to be killed. The more confrontations between young African-American men and police will increase the number of those encounters that turn deadly. All clear thinking Americans must realize that taking the civil and human rights away from African-Americans walks us down a dangerous path. We are living in perilous times with “Stop and Frisk”, The Patriot Act and NDAA indefinite detentions. All of our constitutional rights are under attack.

Some perspective on the numbers. The African-American population in San Francisco is officially 6%, and falling. Mostly these are older retired people. Hopefully, most San Franciscans would not want to see more Kenneth Harding, Oscar Grant or Trayvon Martin type incidents here. There are so few young African-American males in San Francisco; that if they were honey bees or harbor seals they would be considered an endangered species and would qualify for EPA protection.

Consider the fact that in 2012, Jan thru June, 160 US Troops have been killed in Afghanistan. In this same time period 110 African-Americans were killed in police encounters (this may be a low number due to shield laws, un/misreported etc) across the United States. To see the full report go to –

Apparently this number is low enough to slip under the media radar, but clearly we are seeing a deadly pattern. A pattern which Mayor Ed Lee would like to “seriously consider” contributing to.

“Stop and Frisk” is an overly aggressive, and I believe unconstitutional, policy that presumes guilt until proven innocent and basically criminalizes an entire population demographic. African-Americans, like all residents, are entitled to have their constitutional rights respected.

Ellis Berry is a retired computer programmer.

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