The following is a prepared testimony urging the San Diego City Council to support the PrOTECT ordinance. The testimony was delivered to San Diego City Council by ACLU-SDIC Policy Associate Chelsey Birgisdóttir on February 23, 2021.

Good afternoon Council President Campbell and Councilmembers,

My name is Chelsey Birgisdottir. I am a policy associate at the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties. The ACLU is a proud member of the Coalition for Police Accountability & Transparency (CPAT). 

We are here today to urge you, our City Councilmembers, to address over-policing and racially biased policing in our city by passing the PrOTECT ordinance. 

PrOTECT will require probable cause for searches and stops. This will help end the San Diego Police Department’s practice of consent searches and pretext stops which SDPD’s own data shows the department uses disproportionately against Black and Brown people. 

According to the Campaign Zero report, Evaluating Policing in San Diego, in 2018-2019, SDPD was 60 percent more likely to conduct consent searches of Latinos and 23 percent more likely to conduct consent searches of Black people than consent searches of white people. This was true even though Brown and Black people were far less likely to be found with contraband during these searches.

Each of your offices have heard from CPAT, the Community Budget Alliance and other concerned groups about why our city needs this important ordinance. The fact of the matter is that we can neither hire nor train our way out of this very serious problem. 

San Diegans deserve laws that explicitly safeguard all communities from over-policing and biased policing. PrOTECT offers real solutions that address the real issues. 

This is a transformational moment. San Diego can be transformational too.

PrOTECT is your opportunity to demonstrate through decisive action, your commitment to racial justice and equity. 

We urge the city council to support PrOTECT.

Thank you for your time and careful consideration.