Activists criticize county police reform plan, offer alternative

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SAN DIEGO — A group of local activists and community leaders say a set of proposals being considered by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors won’t go far enough to reform law enforcement and address racial injustice.

That group, led by Rev. Shane Harris, presented their own plans in a news conference Monday.

The speakers were critical of a three-pronged approach proposed by Supervisor Nathan Fletcher last week, which he announced with the backing of leaders from four Black community organizations. Supervisors are set to vote on that plan in a meeting on Tuesday, though it’s unclear whether the measures have the support to pass.

But Harris, a civil and human rights activist with the People’s Alliance for Justice, argued that adopting the policies as written would be an “insult to communities of color,” and that Fletcher had failed to thoroughly survey the Black community on the reforms.

He took specific aim at one of three ideas in the proposal: the creation of a new Office of Equity and Racial Justice for the county. Characterizing that plan as toothless, Harris instead called on District Attroney Summer Stephan to open an independent unit for investigating reports of excessive force and other misconduct by law enforcement.

He was joined Monday by local clergy, families affected by police shootings in the region, and leaders from business and civil rights organizations.

The other two aspects of Fletcher’s proposal include changing the way the county handles emergency calls, so that mental health or social workers respond to more calls instead of armed officers, and strengthening the Citizen’s Law Enforcement Review Board, an oversight authority.

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