Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, shown in June 2018, said: “Now is the time for real change.” Photo by Chris Stone

San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher joined local Black leaders Friday to announce a three-pronged “Racial Justice and Law Enforcement Realignment Policy Package” that the Board of Supervisors will consider Tuesday.

The three policies in the package involve strengthening the Citizen’s Law Enforcement Review Board’s authority and independence, opening an Office of Equity and Racial Justice for San Diego County and launching Mobile Crisis Response Teams that use clinicians instead of law enforcement for mental health and homeless services.

Paving Great Futures, ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, Urban League of San Diego County, the Racial Justice Coalition of San Diego, BAPAC, SD for Justice Coalition, Pillars of the Community, the Black Chamber and Voice of Youth all offered input on the package, which seeks to “create more transparency and start to change the systemic and structural racism that has caused pain and harm to generations of Black people,” according to a statement from Fletcher’s office.

“The organizations and activists we worked with have been fighting to save Black lives, and advocating for these changes for a long time. Now is the time for real change,” Fletcher said. “These proposals are initial steps in a series of system and culture changes that needs to occur for there to be true equity in treatment by law enforcement and other injustices felt by minority populations in our community.”

Fletcher launched a petition drive to support the policy package, and was joined at a news conference on the steps of the County Administration Center by Buki Domingos, founder of Racial Justice Coalition of San Diego; Ellen Nash, chair of the board of Black American Political Association of California; Khalid Alexander, president and founder of Pillars of the Community; and Maresa Talbert, co-chair of San Diegans for Justice.

Community leaders offered words of encouragement for the policies.

“The Urban League of San Diego County Supports these reforms brought forward by Supervisor Nathan Fletcher to bring much needed racial justice reform and law enforcement oversight to the people of San Diego,” said Al Abdallah, chief operating officer, Urban League of San Diego County.

Fletcher’s office outlined some of the direct policies the package would take if passed as designed.

To strengthen the Citizens’ Law Enforcement Review Board, the package said independence from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department would be needed, as well as independent authority to investigate use-of-weapons and use-of-force claims.

For the Office of Equity and Racial Justice, Fletcher said the county would have to involve communities of color to set policy and budget priorities, secure and administer restorative justice programs and “dismantle systemic barriers that present obstacles based on race.”

Last, for the Mobile Crisis Response Teams, the county would need to set up a help line, launch an outreach campaign and dedicate $10 million annually of the county’s Health and Human Services Agency budget toward the teams.

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors will consider the policy proposals at its regular meeting at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

— City News Service

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