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Cross v. San Francisco (Racially Biased Policing)

Closed Case
Oct 04, 2018

In 2013, the San Francisco Police Department teamed with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration to target Black people for selling small amounts of drugs in SF's Tenderloin District when it was well-known to the police department that people of many different races engage in drug sales in that neighborhood. Of the 37 people arrested and prosecuted in federal court, 100 percent were Black.

On Oct. 3, 2018, the ACLU Foundation of Northern California, the ACLU Foundation, and the law firm Durie Tangri LLP filed a lawsuit against the City and County of San Francisco for its police department’s racially biased enforcement practices. It seeks to hold SFPD accountable for its racially discriminatory arrests, which were made possible through the city’s indifference to SFPD's longstanding unconstitutional practices.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. 

The City of San Francisco eventually agreed to financially compensate seven of the black men and women who were purportedly arrested for selling small amounts of drugs. The City of San Francisco’s Department of Police Accountability will also be required to include a new category for “racial bias” on police citizen complaint forms. 

Read More:

ACLU Sues San Francisco Police Department for Unconstitutionally Targeting Black People for Arrest (Oct. 4, 2018)

ACLU Reaches Settlement With City of San Francisco in Case of Racially Biased Arrests (Feb. 13, 2020)

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