Rewards for Arrests: Both sides make their voices heard at prote - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Rewards for Arrests: Both sides make their voices heard at protest

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – A protest was held Monday night after the San Diego Police Department launched an internal investigation into a program intended to reward officers for making drug arrests.

The program was never implemented, according to the chief of police, but an email was sent out detailing how it would work. That email alone, has some people in the community demanding answers.

San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit held a news conference on Friday disavowing the program and saying the program was never authorized, never implemented and was never intended to target a specific race or socio-economic class.

The chief promised to find out how and why the email was sent out.

“If you treat us with dignity and respect, you follow the protocols and the rules and the law. We want you here, if you don’t we want you out,” said one protester. 

Monday night’s protest outside San Diego Police Department’s Southern Division attracted three times as many counter-protestors who showed up to voice their support of the SDPD.

The protest stems from an email sent out March 9 to officers in the department's southern division detailing an incentive program aimed at motivating officers to make drug arrests. The email was made public after an unnamed officer came forward and spoke to the media.

The program, which critics said would unfairly target minority communities was never authorized by the new police chief, David Nisleit, nor was it ever implemented.

News 8 spoke to the organizer Tasha Williamson earlier who says there are still questions about why the email was sent in the first place.

"Somebody did this thinking they could get away with this," said Williamson. "Anyone who is in a command or supervisory position - we need to take a second look at."

Williamson is a civil rights activist who says the goal of the protest is to send a message to the police department that a full, transparent investigation is necessary.

The chief also promised an investigation into how and why that email was written in the first place.

Protestors, though, called for an outside investigation by the district attorney’s office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Protestors also called for full protection of the unnamed office who leaked the email to the media.

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