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'I kill [Black people] for a living' | A look at SDPD's newly released police misconduct files

Newly released investigations reveal a number of accusations of racial discrimination against SDPD officers

Dorian Hargrove, Keristen Holmes

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Published: 5:30 AM PST February 3, 2023
Updated: 11:03 AM PST February 9, 2023

Law enforcement agencies throughout California continue to release police officer misconduct investigations as part of a 2022 law aimed at improving transparency in law enforcement agencies.

For the San Diego Police Department, many of the newly released investigations show numerous examples of racially-charged accusations against San Diego Police officers in recent years. They include accusations lodged against patrol officers for racially profiling Black motorists, for improper searches and seizures of young Black men, and in one instance an investigation into an officer who was caught yelling, "I kill [Black People] for a living. I am a cop."

The newly released misconduct records come after years of tensions between San Diego's minority residents and the San Diego Police Department over what some residents feel are disparities in the department's treatment of Black and Hispanic people compared to their white counterparts. 

In recent years, researchers substantiated those sentiments. In a 2016 study, researchers at San Diego State University analyzed traffic stops and detentions from those traffic stops citywide. Researchers found, "stop and post-stop enforcement patterns show meaningful differences in the treatment of Black and Hispanic drivers, as compared to whites..." adding, "these disparities, which match the perceptions of some members of San Diego’s minority communities, contribute to a recognized tension between these communities and the SDPD."

And as the department reveals its internal complaints, public records show the department's efforts to diversify its police force have been unsuccessful. All of this as public records obtained by CBS 8 show that San Diego has seen a steady drop in the number of sworn police officers since at least 1997, resulting in the 8th largest city in the country having just the 22nd largest police force. 

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