As a means of slowing the spread of coronavirus, San Francisco's public defender has called on police to stop issuing citations or arresting people for crimes as serious as non-violent felonies, reports the San Francisco Examiner.
Public Defender Manohar Raju sent a letter to Police Chief Bill Scott on Wednesday urging him to help ensure that "detained persons are not inadvertently being exposed to a life-threatening illness."
"As we all follow recommendations to avoid congregating and preserving more personal distance than usual," Raju wrote, "we must be especially mindful to reduce criminal legal system contact to the greatest extent possible, while also upholding the duty to protect public safety."
Raju asked Scott to command his officers to "reduce all unnecessary contact with the community."
He said officers should stop citing or arresting people for infractions, misdemeanors and non-violent felonies "unless there is a clear and present danger of imminent harm."
The public defender specifically requested that people not be cited for infractions, or cited or arrested for "low-level misdemeanors that do not pose a public safety risk."