Office of Citizen Complaints

Policy Recommendations

SUBJECT: Reporting of Prejudice Based Incidents

(1) The Office of Citizen Complaints recommends that the San Francisco Police Department amend DGO 6.13 to add the requirement that an incident be reported as a prejudice-based incident whenever:

A. A victim communicates that he or she believes the incident is prejudiced- based, and/or
B. Bias is a factor that escalates the incident.

(2) The Office of Citizen Complaints recommends that the San Francisco Police Department instruct dispatchers to relay all relevant information, including but not limited to information about words used and actions by any person related to the alleged crime, regarding prejudice-based incidents to responding officers.

In one case complainant, a Caucasian male, walked in front of a temporarily stopped van that was participating in a funeral procession. The driver of the van, an African-American woman, shouted "faggot" and other homophobic slurs at complainant. Three or four African-American women jumped out of the vehicle and beat the complainant on the head and shoulders and poured alcoholic beverages on him. (The dispatcher told complainant that she would inform officers that the incident was a hate crime.) The responding officers and supervisor stated that they did not report the incident as prejudiced-based because they believed complainant was battered because he interfered with the funeral procession, not because of complainant's sexual orientation. Officers stated that they interpreted DGO 6.13 to require that prejudiced-based incidents be initially motivated by bias.

In a second case, a dispatcher failed to inform officers responding to the scene that the perpetrators directed homophobic slurs at the victim.

The OCC believes that letter and spirit of DGO 6.13 are consistent with, and will be strengthened, by the proposed amendments.

Case Investigated by: MARY IVAS, Investigator
Prepared by: RIVER GINCHILD ABEJE, Policy and Outreach Specialist
Approved by: MARY C. DUNLAP, Director
Date: April 4, 1999

Return to Policy Recommendations