Remove the Police from Enforcing Morality

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The year is 1966, the place is the Tenderloin, Compton’s Cafeteria. A community of queer folx, many of whom were transgender women, sex workers, and drag queens, collectively screamed, “ENOUGH!” The San Francisco Police Department had been abusing and arresting members of this community for years - for being trans, for living as they chose to live, for engaging in sex work. So when an officer was, again, harassing a member of this community, she was so fed up that she threw a cup of coffee in his face. And like that, the smoldering resentment erupted into a riot. Three years prior to Stonewall, San Francisco had its very own LGBTQ+ uprising.

What this demonstrates is the systemic, enduring nature of how police violence impacts the communities we at the Sex-Positive Dems advocate for. Sex workers, and especially Black trans women, are regularly raped by police officers who rarely face consequences. Consensual BDSM is criminalized. Being polyamorous is seen by our legal system as a valid reason to deny parents custody of their children.

We stand with Black, trans, and queer protestors - past and present - who demand an end to police brutality. 

We believe that the police shouldn’t be in the business of enforcing morality. It is not the role of police to decide what people can and can’t do with their bodies, and the bodies of those who consent to interact with them. We believe that significant portions of the massive budgets given to law enforcement agencies across this nation, and specifically in San Francisco, must be diverted towards social programs committed to harm reduction. Programs like our friends at St. James Infirmary, which provide resources and health services to trans women of color and sex workers.

The narrative must shift away from a system that imagines punishment keeps us safe, to one that takes into account the root of most public safety issues: poverty, and the lack of investment in many communities. This includes expanding access to social workers, and having first responders who are trained in handling encounters that involve those with mental health barriers and challenges. Relying on police officers to function this way, as we do now, endangers everyone involved.

We support efforts to defund the police by Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Shamann Walton who, on June 4, 2020, announced they would redirect funding from the San Francisco Police Department and San Francisco Sheriff’s Department to the African American community to the tune of $120 Million over the next 2 years. This reinvestment represents a positive step in the national movement to reframe our approach to public safety. 

Additionally, we acknowledge that our membership and our Board are overwhelmingly White and cis. We are proactively recruiting to diversify our Board, and ask anyone who is not White and/or cis who might be interested in joining our Club or Board to please reach out to us. You can find us on Facebook and at sfspdc.org.

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  • Rebecca Motola-Barnes
    published this page in SFSPD Blog 2020-10-12 08:26:59 -0700

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