The San Francisco Police Commission voted this week to require police stations throughout the city to display Black Lives Matter posters, despite pushback from union members.
The left-wing and Marxist Black Lives Matter political organization has been at the forefront of calls for police to be defunded across the country in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis in May.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported on the development, including how the resolution sends mixed messages about the posters making a political statement:
The resolution, which was unanimously approved, ordered the Police Department to install a poster of at least 32 by 24 inches in each district station within 30 days. The poster must “prominently and exclusively” feature the phrase “Black lives matter” and it must be displayed in a place visible to station visitors.
Commissioner Dion-Jay Brookter, who co-wrote the resolution, said the idea started over the past month as he met with members of the community who said they wanted to see the department express its support for Black lives.
Brookter noted that the posters will simply say Black lives matter, without a capital “L” or “M.”
“This came directly from the community,” Brookter said. “We needed to show unity and solidarity and say that Black lives do matter. My life matters. My 5-year-old niece’s life matters.”
The Chronicle reported that Police Chief Bill Scott, who is black, said he supports the resolution:
As I have said before, people are talking to us and we have to listen. Yeah, we’re listening. Yes, we will support. Yes, we are fully committed to implementing this resolution, and as the person who is charged with speaking on behalf of the department — and I can speak for the command staff and members of this department — Black lives do matter, and they matter to this Police Department.
The Chronicle reported:
Not everyone in the department, however, supported the measure ahead of Wednesday’s vote. The San Francisco Police Officers Association sent the commission a letter saying the union supported the notion that black and brown lives matter, but a directive to install the posters ‘establishes a new precedent that raises concerns about introducing political agendas and wedge issues into the safe harbor of police stations.’
“Police stations are places for the citizens of San Francisco to seek help and assistance when they have become victims of crimes,” Rockne A. Lucia, a lawyer for the police union, wrote in the letter. “They are not places for political endorsements or alignment with political organizations.”
Police union President Tony Montoya said in a statement that the commission “should put away their soapboxes and stop their political grandstanding.”
Montoya noted in the letter how police documented a 31 percent increase in homicides at the end of last month compared to the same time last year and that car break-ins are “rampant.”
“It’s time for the commissioners to get beyond hashtags, posters, and politics because our community is depending on them and all of us to make San Francisco a safer place for everyone,” Montoya said.
Follow Penny Starr on Twitter