Until this month, the San Francisco Police Department only had four categories for identifying the race of someone arrested: White, black, other, and Chinese. As a result, "nearly all Asians," were identified as Chinese, even if they were of Japanese, Korean, or Filipino descent, reports The Bay Citizen, Apparently the city has been plagued by a creaky old data entry system.
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"Police officials have blamed the inaccurate arrest data on a 40-year-old computer system," reports Shoshana Walter. "When the department submitted its arrest data to state authorities, it informed them that the 'Chinese' category included Asian arrestees of all ethnicities."
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The story belies two traits normally associated with San Francisco: progressive politics and technology. As ACLU's Micaela Davis said, “A lot of us were really shocked to learn about this issue considering we are in San Francisco, sort of part of the center of technology in the nation,” Davis is quoted as saying. “To learn that smaller counties in rural California have been reporting proper data and statistics ... and we’re not because we don’t have the proper equipment was pretty shocking." Well, better late than never, SF.