Justice Department launches review of San Francisco police

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 01, 2016 5:18 PM

By Julia Edwards

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department said on Monday it would launch a review of the San Francisco Police following requests from city officials and community members.

Although the American Civil Liberties Union had asked for a federal investigation into the San Francisco Police Department following the death of Mario Woods, 26, at the hands of police, the review will only result in recommendations, not court-enforceable reforms.

"We will examine the San Francisco Police Department's current operational policies, training practices and accountability systems, and help identify key areas for improvement going forward," Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement.

At the conclusion of the review, the Justice Department will give San Francisco police a list of best practices it can follow to insure fairness in its interactions with citizens.

San Francisco police will then report back to the Justice Department on a periodic basis to show it is following the practices, a Justice Department official said.

Other police departments, such as Baltimore, have asked the Justice Department to conduct similar reviews of its policies following accusations of discrimination.

In the case of Baltimore, a review was ongoing before the death of black detainee Freddie Gray. Gray's death then prompted a more formal investigation, the results of which will be enforceable by law.

(Reporting by Eric Beech and Julia Edwards; Editing by Eric Beech and Sandra Maler)