In a victory for constitutional liberties and protections, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee yesterday signed the Safe San Francisco Civil Rights Ordinance. The ordinance, which passed the city’s Board of Supervisors last month, was an effort of the Coalition for a Safe San Francisco, a coalition that the Bill of Rights Defense Committee supported and advised based on our Local Civil Rights Restoration (LCRR) model. The ordinance alters a 2007 agreement between the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) and the FBI that created their Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) in an effort to restore local privacy laws circumvented by authorities. CBS San Francisco reported on the signing of the law:
“We want people to enjoy their civil liberties and fulfill the promises of you and your families and for generations to come,” Lee said. Mokhtar Alkhansali from the coalition for a safe San Francisco applauded the law. “I am thankful and proud that the San Francisco community has come together to speak for civil rights and human rights,” Alkhansali said. Police Chief Greg Suhr said this is really about improving communications. “This doesn’t change our way of doing business. It just makes sure that it’s codified that we have to have the discussion we keep it on the front burner,” Suhr said. Under the new law police can only assist the FBI in a manner that does not violate civil rights or an individual’s right to privacy.
This isn’t the only important civil liberties news in the Bay Area: the Coalition for a Safe Berkeley is mobilizing for a city council vote on Tuesday, May 15, about an even more expansive set of reforms addressing surveillance, immigration enforcement, and the suppression of dissent.