Mayor Breed Withdraws Proposal to Gut City’s Surveillance Oversight Law, Following Campaign by ACLU and Community Partners

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SAN FRANCISCO – Facing intense pressure from an ACLU-led coalition of nearly three dozen community organizations, Mayor London Breed has pulled her proposed ballot measure that would have gutted key provisions of San Francisco’s landmark surveillance oversight ordinance.

“The SFPD tried to twist people’s fear to seize virtually unchecked surveillance powers, and San Franciscans saw right through it,” said Matt Cagle, Technology and Civil Liberties Attorney at the ACLU of Northern California. “The measure was withdrawn after Mayor Breed saw a wall of opposition from residents united across neighborhoods, income levels, and backgrounds. This is a remarkable victory that represents the best of San Francisco.”

Passed in 2019 amid a groundswell of support from the ACLU and other community advocates, the ordinance created guardrails to protect all people from rogue police surveillance. But last month, Breed introduced a ballot measure that carved out huge exceptions in the current law, that would have substantially weakened it.

Prior to the San Francisco Board of Supervisor’s hearing on Mayor Breed’s measure, the ACLU and 35 community partners sent a letter to San Francisco’s elected leaders expressing their grave concerns about the Mayor’s plan.

Hundreds of people contacted the Mayor and Board of Supervisors, calling on them to uphold the current law.  At the hearing on the measure, there was unanimous community opposition to the plan.  Nearly two dozen speakers testified that Breed’s measure would increase racially discriminatory policing and suppress activism.

Now that the proposed ballot measure has been withdrawn, the ACLU and our community partners will remain on guard to ensure SFPD follows the law and to prevent any future efforts by the Mayor and SFPD to eradicate surveillance oversight in the future. We will continue working to move San Francisco forward, not backward, in the fight for justice and safety for all.

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