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SPD and a lack of transparency

Shout out to Jacob Benitez, former SJPC intern and McGeorge law student, for his work on this piece!

The Sacramento Police Review Commission wrapped their latest meeting on August 8, 2022.

First, we'll take a look at item 3: 2022 Quarter 1 Police Complaint Activity Report (full report linked here)

The purpose of this item was to give the Commission a chance to review the quarterly reports made by the Office of Public Safety Accountability (OPSA).

Notable complaints made:

  1. SPD officers damaged a vehicle on a routine traffic stop

  2. Complainant walked out of a convenience store and was immediately stopped, detained and searched by SPD officers; the officers thought he was on “searchable probation” when he was in fact on “non-searchable probation”

  3. Complainant stated an SPD recruit was misogynistic and used racial epithets; they stated the recruit routinely made insensitive comments about race, politics, and women

  4. One person asserted that an SPD officer was making rude and disrespectful comments towards them and refused to call a sergeant when requested

How many allegations/ complaints were there in quarter 1?

OPSA received 76 complaints against police personnel containing 185 allegations

Here are the complaints by district (page 5 of report):

And also the type of complaints asserted (page 6 of report):

Of the police related allegations, 21% of them resulted in police violations and misconduct

It is evident that transparency regarding investigations into allegations and misconduct is vital, and that police misconduct should have no place in the Sacramento community. Misconduct without accountability should not be tolerated.

We also looked at item 4: Inspector General Introduction [Oral Report]

Inspector General for the City of Sacramento Dwight White (pictured below) presented in front of the Commission - White is responsible for investigating the “use-of-force” cases within the Sacramento Police Department.

White is an attorney with a background in homicide investigation. His previous position involved conducting investigations for Chicago's Civilian Office of Police Accountability. White reviews officer-involved shootings and serious bodily injury complaints. He is supposed to make sure that the right outcome is arrived at when an investigation concludes.

There have been 4 officer-involved shootings since September of 2021?, and White assured the Commission that the corresponding report will be complete and presented soon. There have also been 12 serious bodily injury complaints during the same period.

Members questioned the way police officers acted in the September shooting as an unmanned aerial vehicle was used to check on a person who had been shot instead of providing the individual with immediate medical attention

White assured he would have detailed answers in his report coming soon.

White is working independently on investigations and complaints which has given rise to an efficiency issue. Members brought up the fact that only 40% of cases have been investigated and resolved in the year that White has been in the position.

Many members questioned the efficiency and transparency of the numerous investigations being conducted by a single person. White stated that he is doing his best to keep up with the investigations and assured members that full transparency will be demonstrated during the upcoming report presentation where more questions will be answered.

The report presentation was put on the agenda for the next meeting.

Stay tuned!

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