While the nation continues to debate the role of law enforcement agencies and officer misconduct in communities of color against the backdrop of high-profile beatings and extra-judicial killings of unarmed African-American and Latino men, women, and children around the country, the San Francisco Bay Area exists as a fascinating case study for the rest of the country. As a result of Allen v. City of Oakland (known as the Riders case), a high-profile civil rights lawsuit involving alleged police misconduct in 2003, the Oakland Police Department has been under federal oversight for over a decade. Furthermore, a recent study released by the W. Haywood Burns Institute, a non-profit organization in Oakland, confirmed that pervasive racial bias continues to persist in the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD), as well. According to the report, African-American adults in San Francisco are 11 times as likely as Whites to be booked into county jail. Despite a 21 percent decrease in the number of African-American adults living in the city between 1994 and 2013, the disparity gap in arrests has increased. In 1994, 4.6 African Americans were arrested for every White person.
However, in 2013, more than seven Blacks were arrested for every White arrest. Thus, African American residents of San Francisco continue to be overrepresented in every step of the criminal justice process. Nevertheless, San Francisco and Oakland police departments have made some progress since the 2003 "Riders case" and the 2009 high-profile killing of Oscar Grant, an unarmed African-American man whose murder on a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station platform inspired the critically-acclaimed movie, "Fruitvale." Unfortunately, there remains much work to do to ensure that the civil and human rights of communities of color are truly respected by those who have sworn to "protect and serve."
The Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal cordially invites you to a symposium on Friday, November 6, 2015 entitled: “21st Century Civil Rights: Community Empowerment Police Reform.” This year’s symposium will provide an opportunity for legal practitioners, community members, academics, and law students to examine past and current attempts at addressing police misconduct, to discuss current and past challenges and successes of identified solutions, and to determine the most promising avenues for securing police accountability measures. Panel topics will focus on topics such as grand juries and community prosecution, body cameras and other evidentiary issues, including asset forfeiture, and citizen oversight of law enforcement with keynote remarks by Alameda County Public Defender, Brendon Woods. Dialogue will center on the historical and present day struggles in the fight for criminal justice and policing reform, and will consider the role of the legal field in empowering diverse communities in this incredibly urgent 21st century civil rights movement. We hope you will join us for our annual symposium! Please below for more details:
When: Friday, November 6, 2015
Where: Alumni Reception Center
UC Hastings College of Law
200 McAllister Street, 2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94102
Contact: 2015HRPLJSymposium@gmail.com for more info.
Reception to follow. More information coming soon.
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