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San Francisco bans tear gas, says police will no longer respond to non-criminal calls

San Francisco bans tear gas, says police will no longer respond to non-criminal calls
© Greg Nash

San Francisco Mayor London Breed (D) announced Thursday that the city's police force would undergo sweeping reform, outlawing tear gas and ending police responding to non-criminal calls.

“San Francisco has made progress reforming our police department, but we know that we still have significant work to do,” Breed said in a statement. “We know that a lack of equity in our society overall leads to a lot of the problems that police are being asked to solve. We are going to keep pushing for additional reforms and continue to find ways to reinvest in communities that have historically been underserved and harmed by systemic racism.”

Breed highlighted four main objectives of the reforms: "Ending the use of police in response to non-criminal activity; addressing police bias and strengthening accountability; demilitarizing the police; and promoting economic justice."

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The mayor's plan forces the San Francisco Police Department to get rid of now-banned weapons, including tear gas, by the end of 2021.

Additionally, the city's police with no longer respond to calls that are non-violent in nature, with the city promising to develop a better system to deal with these kind of calls over the next year.

The SFPD will also make changes to how it hires new officers.

"Starting immediately, the Department of Human Resources will audit all SFPD and San Francisco Sheriff hiring and promotional exams to incorporate state-of-the-art testing for bias and potential for abuse of force," Breed's statement read. "Moving forward, the SFPD and Police Commission will also strengthen the affirmative duty to act policy and tie any violation to transparent disciplinary action."

Cities across the country have announced sweeping and significant changes to their law enforcement following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25.

The Minneapolis City Council voted over the weekend to disband its police department and create new community public safety infrastructure.