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IPFS News Link • Racism

Citing racial bias, San Francisco will end mug shots release


San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott and outside police experts said they believe the department would be the first in the nation to do so based on concerns about racial bias.

The booking photos taken by police when a person is arrested for a crime are often made public whether or not the person is prosecuted for the alleged crime. That can undermine the presumption of innocence and help perpetuate stereotypes, experts said.

"This is just one small step but we hope this will be something that others might consider doing as well," Scott said.

Large cities like Los Angeles and New York already have policies against releasing booking photos but make exceptions. For example, the New York Police Department, the nation's largest, releases information on arrests but doesn't put out mug shots unless investigators believe that will prompt more witnesses to come forward or aid in finding a suspect. G

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