San Francisco mayor wants stop-and-frisk

Updated
San Francisco mayor Ed Lee.
San Francisco mayor Ed Lee.
AP Photo/Ben Margot

As the emotional dust settles from last week’s Colorado movie-theater murders, it seemed to make sense to wait a few days for San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee to come to his senses. In the wake of mass shootings, the rush to restrict the rights of people to do much of anything save own an assault rifle and a freakish amount of ammunition feels terribly familiar, and all too political.

It was Thursday, the day before the shooting, when I first heard of Mayor Lee’s desire to implement a stop-and-frisk program similar to the extremely-unpopular-at-least-among-brown-people policing tactic that has become infamous here in New York City, and the one sued over last year in Philadelphia. L. Joy Williams mentioned it on that day’s edition of the radio program “This Week In Blackness.”

But since the shooting, the mayor’s resolve has only hardened. Despite the unanimous vote of San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors against the policy’s implementation, and thousands of signatures on a protester petition, the mayor is pressing forward with a plan, thanks in part to the (most recent) Colorado massacre:

Mayor Ed Lee remains resolute in implementing some form of a stop-and-frisk program - even if it’s not called that - in the wake of Friday’s horrific movie theater mass shooting in Aurora, Colo., and a trip to Philadelphia, which has its own controversial stop-and-frisk program.

“I am as, if not more, committed, and especially in light of the massacre that occurred in Aurora, but also the review of what’s happening in New York and Philadelphia and Chicago and the crime that’s committed,” Lee said Monday on the sidelines of an announcement about federal transportation funding…

“I’m not into any program that will violate people’s rights, but we’ve got to get to the guns,” Lee said Monday.

Two things that are odd about this, aside from another mayor of a major American city chomping at the bit to greenlight (official) racial profiling in his or her police department: first, per the WNYC story we cited last week, police in New York City, for the most part, aren’t “getting the guns” where they’re stopping and frisking mostly innocent brown residents and visitors. And perhaps most notable is the mayor’s panic over the Colorado incident, considering how the alleged perpetrator bought his high-capacity weaponry:

Surveillance video shows [suspect James] Holmes picking up 150 pounds of ammunition at a FedEx Corp. (FDX) outlet in Colorado, the official said. Investigators have interviewed a United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) driver who says Holmes had 90 packages delivered to his workplace on the University of Colorado medical campus, the official said.

A shipping label from BulkAmmo.com, an Internet ammunition site, was found in the trash bins outside of Holmes’s apartment, the official said.

Mayor Lee’s desperation is particularly curious vis-á-vis the Aurora shooting, considering that (I’d venture that) no one has ever been stopped and frisked, and the police discovers that they’re carrying several weapons which include an AR-15 assault rifle in the small of his or her back. And considering the way his apartment was rigged to blow sky high, it doesn’t sound as if James Holmes would’ve been packing you stopped and frisked him on the street during an average day.

I’m all for mayors coming up with reasonable solutions to securing illegal guns, but if we are to learn anything from Holmes , but it makes exactly zero sense for them to continue to implement flawed, ineffective policies which invite its officers to look more for race than for evidence.

If Mayor Lee doesn’t believe me, or understand how “stop-and-frisk” policies actually affect communities of color, he should consult the new #10FRISKCOMMANDMENTS video below, featuring hip-hop artist Jasiri X and  directed by “This Week In Blackness” host Elon James White. (And yes, if you were wondering, the song is a play on this.)

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San Francisco mayor wants stop-and-frisk

Updated