Muslim community concerned about SFPD’s cooperation with feds on surveillance 

Members of San Francisco’s Middle Eastern and Muslim communities turned out at City Hall Monday for a hearing on the San Francisco Police Department’s intelligence gathering operations, which they worry may be targeting those communities unfairly.

At issue was a February report from the San Francisco Human Rights Commission that, among other things, said there was a lack of clarity on the extent to which the police department may be cooperating with federal authorities on surveillance of local political and religious organizations, including mosques.

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who sponsored a non-binding resolution endorsing the report, said he hoped for a dialogue between the human rights and police commissions and the police department on the issue.

“Because at this point, there’s just no information,” Mirkarimi said following the hearing.

The report was drafted in part out of concerns by members of The City’s Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian communities about comments made by former police Chief George Gascón last year.

Gascón issued a mea culpa after reported public statements he made concerning the threat of terrorism by members of the Afghani and Yemeni communities. He had been speaking in support of a local earthquake bond measure to fund the building of a new police headquarters, and also mentioned the threat of a terrorist attack on the building.

Monday’s resolution was approved by the City Operations and Neighborhood Services Committee and is now headed to the full board.

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Ari Burack

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