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Former bias trainer says ‘reinforced narratives about Black people as criminals by nature’ thrived in San Francisco Police culture

Julian Mark

Dec 17, 2020

Trainer and his team worked for more than two years training over 1,000 officers at every level

In explosive testimony before the Police Commission on Wednesday night, a former San Francisco Police Department implicit bias trainer described a culture of deep-rooted racism in the police force that, at times, appeared insurmountable and hard-wired into the department’s DNA.

“There was little to no room, many times, to have surface level, and/or factual conversations about the role race and racism have played in the evolution of law enforcement,” Dante King, the former trainer, who is now the director of workforce equity at the Department of Public Health, told the commission. “Instead, there was repeated pushback, denial, reinforced narratives about Black people as criminals by nature.”

King was invited to the Police Commission to flesh out the observations he conveyed in an email to Chief Bill Scott in April, 2019, that the police department harbored extreme “anti-Black” sentiment. The email was leaked to the San Francisco Examiner and published by the paper in February — an event that King said led him to lose a promotion at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, where he then worked.

“My employees and I got the impression that, in some cases, there are individuals on the force who have enjoyed having a career that allows them to patrol, exert power over, and harm Black people.”


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