The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved on Tuesday a plan that would allow police to access private security cameras without a warrant.
The board voted 7-4 to approve Democratic Mayor London Breed’s plan which allows police to access up to 24 hours of live outdoor video footage from private surveillance cameras without a warrant as long as the camera owner gives police permission, according to SF Gate. To access video footage without a warrant, police must be either responding to a life-threatening emergency, conducting a criminal investigation with written approval from a captain or higher-ranking official, or deciding how to deploy officers to a large public event, according to the report.
Breed said the legislation would allow police “to respond to the challenges presented by the organized criminal activity, homicides [and] gun violence,” according to The Associated Press. Breed introduced the proposal in 2021 to combat rampant theft, rioting and looting.
Board President Shamann Walton voted against the legislation, saying it’s a violation of civil liberties, according to AP. (RELATED: ‘Incompetent’: San Francisco Dems Feel The Heat As Key Voting Bloc Rages Over Rising Crime)
“I know the thought process is, ‘Just trust us, just trust the police department.’ But the reality is people have been violating civil liberties since my ancestors were brought here from an entirely, completely different continent,” he reportedly said.
The ACLU of Northern California also voiced their opposition to the policy in February, with staff attorney Matt Cagle saying the policy would “give unchecked power to the police, and make San Francisco less safe.”
The San Francisco Bar Association also opposed the legislation, writing to the board in early September that a better response to the challenges facing the community would be “improved policing services, not the sort of mass surveillance proposed here.”