San Francisco, CA – The San Francisco Police Commission voted to force the police department to hang big Black Lives Matter posters in every police station in the city during a virtual meeting on Wednesday night.
The resolution to show visible support for Black Lives Matter passed by a vote of 5 to 0, KGO reported.
“This resolution is merely a small gesture to show that this commission and our department stands in solidarity for the support of Black lives,” the police commission said in a statement after the measure passed.
The posters must be hung in public areas of every police station within the next 30 days and it must be unobstructed by a minimum distance of five feet, KRON reported.
The signs must measure a minimum of 32 inches by 24 inches and “prominently and exclusively” feature the phrase “Black Lives Matter,” according to the resolution.
The resolution also said that if a sign was damaged, it should immediately be removed and replaced, KRON reported.
The police commission called the move the first step in a larger dialog about how the police department can support the black community.
The San Francisco Police Officers Association (POA) sent a letter to the police commission ahead of the vote on the resolution that said they objected to the plan, the San Francisco Examiner reported.
The union expressed concern that the directive to hang Black Lives Matter signs “establishes a new precedent that raises concerns about introducing political agendas and wedge issues into the safe harbor of police stations.”
“Police stations are places for the citizens of San Francisco to seek help and assistance when they have become victims of crimes,” Rockne Lucia, attorney for the POA, wrote. “They are not places for political endorsements or alignment with political organizations.”
Some community members who commented on the resolution at the police commission meeting objected to the initiative as well, KGO reported.
“As a Mexican heritage person, I don’t think that,” one man said. “When you’re saying ‘Black Lives Matter,’ you’re segregating a certain portion of the population.”
Another woman echoed the concerns of the police union, KGO reported.
“I feel like some areas should be neutral ground I guess,” she said.
The resolution’s sponsor pushed back at the POA’s objections and said the resolution didn’t have a political agenda, the San Francisco Examiner reported.
Police Commissioner Dion-Jay Brookter called the move a “small, significant token” of support in light of the current anti-police climate.
Brookter said the resolution was in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, not the organization by the same name, the San Francisco Examiner reported.
“This strictly came from the black community and members in the black community,” Brookter told KGO.
Damali Taylor, the vice president of the police commission, objected strongly to the police union’s letter.
“The letter talked about this being political speech which is absolutely horses–t, if you excuse my French,” Taylor said.
“The leadership of the POA simply does not get it,” Police Commissioner John Hamasaki agreed, according to KGO.
Police Commissioner Cindy Elias said she didn’t think the resolution went far enough.
“Again, I think this is a step in the right direction, but we definitely need to step up and do more and now is the time to do it,” Elias said.
San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott split with the police union and embraced the police commission’s initiative, KGO reported.
“People are talking to us and we must listen,” Chief Scott said.