San Francisco Police suspended participation with the Joint Terrorism Task Force Wednesday night.
The separation of the SFPD from the FBI ends a 10-year relationship, though a suspension is not a total withdrawal and will be revisited later, according to a media release by the San Francisco Police Committee.
The JTTF “brings together federal agents and state law enforcement officers throughout the Bay Area to collaboratively work to investigate and prevent acts of terrorism,” according to a memo from the Sheriff’s Office. With its suspension, San Francisco moves one step closer to a city unaltered by the administration of President Donald Trump.
“The greatest threat we have to our public safety and way of life isn’t what Donald Trump calls radical Islamic terrorism, it’s a radical presidential narcissism,” attorney John Crew said.
Crew, a retired police practices specialist from the American Civil Liberties Union, was invited to speak before the Police Commission and stood up for those he feared the JTTF would be used to oppress in the coming months. President Trump has made no secret of his war with sanctuary cities, signing executive orders both to gridlock immigration laws, and defund cities that protect the rights of illegal immigrants, as per two of his executive orders earlier this month.
Despite pressure from Washington, the SFPD has made it clear where its allegiance lies.
“I don’t see the FBI present tonight, I don’t see the United States Attorney’s office present tonight, and I think our role in this commission is to respond to the community,” Police Commission Vice President Thomas Mazzucco said.
This act of solidarity with the city is a response to a lawsuit San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed against the Trump administration for threatening to penalize sanctuary cities. Mayor Ed Lee has also publicly reasserted his devotion to remaining a sanctuary city.
Herrera submitted his lawsuit on Jan. 31, which calls Trump’s executive order to federally defund sanctuary cities unconstitutional.
Cities rely on strong funding to maintain safety standards, and financial cuts would impact multiple departments that support the city’s infrastructure.
The lack of funding though would not affect the safety of immigrants, as a non-use of funds is exactly what keeps them safe. To protect non-citizens of San Francisco, a city ordinance forbids the SFPD from using their salaries to make immigrant status checks.
“San Francisco has directed its employees and officers not to assist the Federal government in enforcing federal immigration law, with limited exceptions,” Herrera stated in his lawsuit.
“San Francisco is healthier when all residents, including undocumented immigrants, access public health programs. San Francisco is economically and socially stronger when all children, including undocumented immigrants, attend school,” Herrera said.
The Trump Administration is not only being sued by San Francisco, but by other states and organizations including Washington, the Council on American Islamic Relations and the American Civil Liberties Union, according to CNN. They also found the Trump Administration faces a total of 42 federal lawsuits in its first 11 days.
President Trump has not publicly responded to the lawsuits yet, but has remained resolute on his immigration executive order and pulling of federal funding from sanctuary cities. The president also issued a statement Sunday, disputing the idea he ordered a Muslim ban.
“This is not about religion — this is about terror and keeping our country safe,” Trump said in a statement.
The decision by the San Francisco Police Commission makes it clear that regardless of President Trump’s mandate, the city is doing everything it can to separate itself from Washington. They remain devoted to their sanctuary city identity, as Herrera made clear in his lawsuit.
“San Francisco is safer when all people, including undocumented immigrants, feel safe reporting crimes,” Herrera said.