High Black Arrest Rate Raises Call for Inquiry
Black people in San Francisco are arrested for felonies at nearly twice the rate they are in Sacramento. They are arrested at twice the rate of black people in Fresno, three times the rate in San Jose, Los Angeles, Long Beach and San Diego, and four times the rate in Oakland. The disparity between San Francisco's black felony arrest rates and the seven other largest cities' -- measured by the number of African Americans arrested per 1,000 black residents -- is so large that many experts and civic leaders who reviewed the numbers said they are "disturbing" and require an investigation.
Arlene Ackerman, former San Francisco school superintendent now teaching at Columbia University's Teachers College in New York City: "I believe that race in San Francisco is the elephant in the room and people refuse to talk about it and if you bring it up, then you are the racist. I felt more uncomfortable as a black person in San Francisco than I have felt in any other city. ... Someone has to be courageous and step up and address the issue of race in the city, starting in the education system and moving through the criminal justice system.''
This article appeared in the December 17, 2006 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle.
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