tv [untitled] April 8, 2011 5:30am-6:00am PDT
the government barometer issued on december 2010 government barometer issued on february 3rd, 2011 for an overview of the report and a summary of the highlights and recent trends in the city's major service areas. supervisor avalos: we might even here the barometer next time we come together. any members of the public like to comment on item three before we continue it? scene 9, we will close public comment. item #4 -- seen and done, we will close public comment. >> item 4, resolution and during community concerns of surveillance, racial, and religious profiling arab, middle eastern, muslim, a south asian communities and potential reactivation of police department intelligence gathering and report published by the san francisco human- rights commission.
supervisor avalos: supervisor mirkarimi. supervisor mirkarimi: -- without compromising the values we hold near and dear to our hearts of our citizenry -- since september 11th, 2001, numerous public debates have centered on security and civil rights. these debates have played out in the form of public conversations and controversies, including remarks made by then early on chief gas donor regarding
persons of middle eastern and afghani dissent. the chief's comments caused concern among san francisco community members including the arab, middle eastern and south asian citizens, there referred to acronym is amemsa. we sought to address these concerns by the police department and addressing concerns about the perspective news that there would be an intel unit created with regard to the san francisco police department wanting to upgrade its surveillance and intelligence policies and working with both state and federal organizations, and denounced to many organizations that have been working on these issues for a long, long time. that particular need was
manifested, facilitated through a number of hearings, in particular, one that took place on september 23rd, 2010 were over 150 people attended the hearing to present their concerns. coming out of that particular hearing was a report developed that is before us right now and i'm going to let the director speak about this in a second called community concerns of surveillance, racial, religious profiling of arab middle eastern, muslim, and south asian communities and potential reactivation of police department's intelligence gathering. it provides out reached an prior to the hearing, making sure it is not just knee-jerk or reflexive to concerns simply based on headline news concerns, but really based on substantive
issues of which direction our city may be going through its law enforcement strategies. this report identifies strategies for san francisco to address community concerns and a commitment to nondiscrimination including the amemsa community: while upholding its obligation in protecting our citizenry. the san francisco human-rights committee unanimously passed this report. relative to this, i submitted a resolution earlier this month, simply endorsing the work of the hrc and the larger community at hand. that resolution, offered by myself and co-sponsored by a number of supervisors, including share avalos and supervisor mar
have brought us to this conclusion. i think these deliberations are not unfamiliar to just san francisco but of course around the united states. what has made some headline news recently is that congressman team of new york, peter keane, chairman of the house homeland's security committee -- congressman peter king plans to hold hearings on this very question. what he has titled his hearings is the radicalization of muslim americans. many leading up to the first hearing were quite concerned, from the general public and the media to sensationalize a lot of that hearing leading up to the first one as a reincarnation, if you will, of the kind of red baiting that was done in the 1950's by then senator joseph mccarthy. it's a fragile subject, one that
should not be swept under the rug from all vantage points of this perspective. we must not lose our moral compass in making sure that with the advent of patriot act one and two there has been a significant eroding of civil rights of americans and people who are here to be considered american, whether they are muslim american, south asian, arab, persian, it is something we are noticing without fail, a trend that makes municipal governments have to speak up at times. this was not the first time we have spoken up. in the mid-1990s, after the first gulf war, there has also been the creation of the intel unit by the san francisco police department.
it had been summarily disbanded in approximately 1995. that was not well known by the larger community of the kind of data being collected then by the san francisco police department. there has been great reform as to how the police department could work with the communities of concern that they would be investigating and being able to set in motion the strategies that seem to be much more practical and much more respectful than the direction they may have been going recently. as we have learned from this particular action that has taken place, of some of the chiefs interests in upgrading and developing their own terrorist unit or intel or surveillance unit, are now questions as to what is the terrorist liaison -- what does the terrorist liaison
look like out of the san francisco police department as it works with federal agencies like the fbi. these are new developments that neither the police commission of san francisco nor nor this branch of government has any details on. -- norhrc nor this branch of government has any details on. we must look to the due process of civil-rights. that's what this resolution underscores, and that's why i hope we are able to pass this unanimously here today. without further ado, i would like to ask director sparks to come forward and present more detail the information i have outlined for you. thank you. >> thank you, supervisor mirkarimi. it's a pleasure to be before you. as you may note are as you may recall, after 9/11, the human- rights commission of san
francisco was the first group to hold hearings on the discrimination against amemsa people and publish a report on discrimination occurring in san francisco against people of muslim or middle eastern background and people who were perceived to be of that background. that extended to the latino community and others and so this report and this investigation we have been conducting is a continuation of that effort that has gone on for many years. supervisor mirkarimi made a great introduction. i have to make sure not to meet with him before these meetings. i have to make sure couple of these things are highlighted -- the impetus behind this was the community impetus. after the chief made his comments, he went to the muslim
community and voiced a very vocal and very public apology in front of nearly a thousand individuals during a time in which, right after which they had morning prayers. after that occurred, the community came together more than 20 organizations -- 23 to 25 community organizations, including the asian law caucus and others to start talking about this issue and start understanding with the community wanted to start doing. thehrc became a the cell -- the hrc became a facilitator and met with and to understand what their concerns were. they then were the work group that the together the public hearing that supervisor mirkarimi talked about. this is a community-focused hearing and the report you have
in front of you is a reflection of the perception of the community. this is a reflection of how the community feels about this report. we solicited testimony and prepared findings and the findings we prepared where the perception of what is coming from the community. i will introduce the principal officer of this report to go through in summary of what it was, but after we are done with this hearing and after we are done with the board's endorsement of it, we will start meeting with various departments, including the police department, the port and to talk about how we together as city family come together to implement this report and understand better the relationship between government and the community. i want to mention we have talked with director martin and he is
completely in synch with us in making sure these recommendations are followed. also to do his own investigation on how people from the avalos -- people from ups amemsa are treated. i will say just one more comments, based on as you may be aware, the issue with the mosque that was proposed for new york city, this is one of the most significant human rights issues in that united states today. . we hope you'll give it due consideration. nadia will give a very brief overview of the findings and recommendations. thank you. >> i will just highlight some
key testimony. over 40 people testified. it consisted of community members and civil rights attorney -- civil-rights attorneys, community activists and scholars. the community wanted assurance it would not be surveiled and information about be amassed absent suspicion of wrongdoing. they expressed concerns that the targeting of political and religious organizations for surveillance alienates the community, breed mistrust of law enforcement and has a chilling effect on political expression. they wanted to know the san francisco police department was complying with its own department's general order. that was a general order 8.10
which protect against infiltration of surveillance of first amendment activity. the general order prohibits the san francisco police department from going under cover and infiltrating political organizations and places of worship unless there is reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. community's concern comes from the san francisco police department's own history. in 1993, it was discovered the police inspector had collected information from approximately 7000 individuals and political organizations not suspected of wrongdoing. the inspector was a liaison to the arab-american community and collected information about thousands of innocent san francisco residents. he particularly targeted arab- american organizations and anti- apartheid organizations. not only did he keep this information, he then sold this information to outside agencies and governments. you can imagine why the
communities concerned if we have a new intelligence unit, they want insurance the department of general order is not bypassed. they want the police department to come out and say yes, we as a city acknowledge that our values is you will not be infiltrated unless there is reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. also of concern is national origin not be completed with terrorism as exemplified by the chief's comments. it is not guilt by association. that is not our law enforcement not know, but individualized suspicion. -- that is not our motto, but individualized suspicion. the comments that he wants to reactivate the intelligence gathering operations have created mistrust in the community.
that community wants assurance we are not going to have a team of gerard's infiltrating the organization and amassing files about them. we in san francisco recognize the need for community-based and trust-based policing and we hope that human rights commission, the board of supervisors and city agencies will work together to repair the relationship between the san francisco police department and community and build trust by creating greater dialogue, transparency and accountability. i'm going to go over some of the findings and recommendations. one of the findings is that since 9/11, there has been a steady rise of islamophobia. a number of muslims are afraid their mosques have been infiltrated by the fbi and the san francisco department is -- san francisco police department is working with the fbi.
this creates mistrust. all sense of profiling creates mistrust. another finding is communities previously or currently targetted by surveillance and profiling, for example, the japanese-american and african- american communities draw parallels between their experience and the amemsa community. one simple recommendation is the board of supervisors and human rights commission work to enhance community relations with the amemsa community and advocate for policies that protect, promote and secure human-rights for amemsa people in san francisco. the second recommendation is that in addition to monthly reviews by rotating designated police commissioners, the review of requests and of authorizations for the initiation of investigation for pursuing 8 pursuing 8.10 be done
by the entire commission on a quarterly basis. that's just more oversight. the other suggestion is the human rights commission, board of supervisors and police commission ensure all san francisco police officers, including those deputized to the joint terrorism task force and is working with the fbi paulo and complied with local and state privacy laws, -- paulo and comply with local and state privacy laws. also that the city oversee targeting in profiling of amemsa communities. >> thank you. supervisor kim: -- supervisor mirkarimi: if it's ok, i would like to call up a few other speakers.
[reading names] >> thank you for considering this important endorsement of surveillance and racial and religious profiling. i am a staff attorney at the asian law caucus. he must be familiar with the asian law caucus. our mayor was an alum. since 9/11, we have seen a rise in hate crimes against muslim americans and those perceived to be muslim but what receives less attention is the fact these acts of violence find their support in institutionalized discrimination. discrimination that is a direct result of misdirected government policy. i am not a criminal defense attorney, i'm a civil rights attorney. i represent dozens of people in the law enforcement context, people who have not committed any crime, but people have been discriminated by law enforcement.
i want to contextualize some of the recommendations in the report so you can understand where this is coming from. in the airport context, i have dozens upon dozens of clients to face discrimination at the airport. these are innocent americans who repeatedly are pulled aside when re-entering the country after visiting their families or doing business abroad. in addition to being asked personal questions about their religious identities, their political views, and their families, my clients often have the entirety of the information on their laptops and cell phones copied by customs and border protection officers. if this happened within u.s. borders, these kinds of searches would never be possible. they would violate the constitution. but agents at airports across the country are directed by dhs policy to pull aside people born in particular countries, regardless of their citizenships and to travel to particular places and use their
vulnerability at the airport to get as much information as possible. rep conyers two days ago requested a federal investigation into religious profiling at the border. this is a ubiquitous experience in the muslim community and san francisco airport is reportedly one of the worst places for this occurring. that is all i have? supervisor avalos: by rule, you do. i will ask you question. perhaps that may help. maybe you can speak to the fact that these actions are taking place without criminal predicate and by the asian law caucus is concerned. >> i have dozens of clients who have been approached by the fbi. some are approached by san francisco or other local law enforcement officers working in the joint terrorism task force.
they are working as to san francisco officers assigned to the joint task force. my colleague is going to speak about this. to give you a taste of the things we have been seeing, our fear is that san francisco police officers are not abiding by local lal in california privacy laws. rather, they are abiding by federal guidelines. in december 2008, one of law last things president did -- president bush did was to change the fbi guidelines. for the first time, agents are allowed to initiate interviews. they are allowed to infiltrate political and religious
organizations. they are allowed to surveil people using invasive techniques without any criminal suspicion. they admitted they have over 70,000 files with 11,000 files growing and requirements on innocent americans who they have no suspicion of committing any wrongdoing. in san francisco, we have no assurances from sfpd that san francisco officers are not involved in this activity. one thing this report speaks to is the major concern. the chief did not need additional guidelines. he had won. -- he had one.
>> good afternoon. thank you for having this conversation, particularly in light of everything happening across the country. i am the executive director of the san francisco-bay area office of the council on american islamic relations. i want to highlight the environment in which the conversation is happening. last month, the elected officials in orange county participated in what was labeled an anti-muslim protest. a few weeks ago, congressman peter king held hearings on the corporate -- corporation of muslims with law enforcement. things are coming to a climax. we have the opportunity to set an example and say that muslims are cooperating with law- enforcement. at the same time, that needs to be happening with respect for civil rights. i am asking you to endorse the report and set an example for the country as elected
officials to say that in the war on terror, we will not sacrifice our principles and civil liberties because in doing so, we economists do we accomplish nothing. -- in doing so, we accomplished nothing. >> i am going to be translated if that is okay. supervisor avalos: very good. speak into the microphone. >> [speaking foreign language] >> i am an american citizen. i came here one month after september 11.
every time i am leaving for coming to the sfo airport, i have to go through intense security screenings. i have to go through metal detectors. it is a traumatizing experience for me. [speaking foreign language] when i arrived from overseas at the airport, i go through secondary screening. they put me in this secondary
room. they go through all of my luggage. they begin to question and interrogate me. they ask me personal questions that are not relevant about my family, my wife. any information i give them the document. -- the take any information i give to them and documented. [speaking foreign language] i have been interrogated by more than one agency at the airport. the fbi is one along with other agencies. [speaking foreign language]
[tone!] i have been visited twice at my work by the fbi. they have come to my house. when they came to my house, and did not know my rights. i did not know they had to have a search warrant. they did not have a search warrant. they came to my apartment. they looked through my things. they began asking personal questions about my father in tunisia, how i met my wife, where we got married, how we were married. very personal things. [tone!] is it ok if we go over time because i am translating? supervisor avalos: we did build in for translation time. please continue on to tell us about