The Blue Ribbon Panel on Transparency, Accountability, and Fairness in Law Enforcement (the Panel) was established as an advisory body to the San Francisco District Attorney in May 2015 in the wake of revelations that 14 San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) officers had exchanged numerous racist and homophobic text messages.
The Panel was tasked with answering the critical question that the text messaging scandal raised: Was the racial and homophobic bias so clearly demonstrated by the offensive texts a reflection of institutionalized bias within the SFPD and, if so, to what extent?
The Panel took on two related goals to be completed on independent tracks.
- The three judges comprising the Panel were asked to review almost 4,000 police reports authored by the officers involved in the texting scandal to determine whether their demonstrated bias may have played a role in their policing. This review is ongoing and is expected to be completed by fall 2016.
- The law firm working groups were tasked with examining the extent to which bias was institutionalized within the SFPD’s policies and practices, and to recommend solutions to address any bias or threat of bias they discovered. The results of this broader inquiry form the chapters of the Panel’s report.