San Francisco police to stop publishing mugshots to reduce "implicit bias"

by Jordyn Pair · Jul 6th, 2020 9:17 am

Last Updated Jul 6th, 2020 at 1:34 pm

The San Francisco Police Department announced on Wednesday that it would no longer release mugshots, a move described as an effort to reduce bias.

The department will now only release booking photos if it is "necessary to warn the public of imminent danger" or to ask the public for help locating a suspect or "at-risk persons."

"This policy emerges from compelling research suggesting that the widespread publication of police booking photos in the news and on social media creates an illusory correlation for viewers that fosters racial bias and vastly overstates the propensity of black and brown men to engage in criminal behavior," SFPD Chief of Police William Scott said in a statement. "By implementing this groundbreaking new policy today, SFPD is taking a stand that walks the walk on implicit bias while affirming a core principle of procedural justice — that those booked on suspicion of a crime are nonetheless presumed innocent of it.

The department said its decision was influenced by academia, the general public, and legal professionals, including a public defender and district attorney.

Scott said on Wednesday that consistently publishing booking photos encourages "racial bias."

? Los Angeles and New York City have similar policies, according to CBS SF Bay Area.


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