Police would have authority to stop and frisk for weapons or drugs people they deem "suspicious" under policy supported by Mayor Ed Lee, according to reports.
The so-called "stop-and-frisk" policy has been controversial in cities like New York and Philadelphia, which Lee wants to use as a model for police activity in San Francisco, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. In those cities, minorities are most frequently targeted for the random searches, which can be conducted without a warrant.
Eighty-eight percent of people targeted by police for a stop-and-search in New York "had done nothing wrong," according to a report by the New York Civil Liberties Union.
Philadelphia's program is under court-ordered monitoring, the newspaper reported.
Lee, a former civil rights attorney who calls himself progressive, admitted he may be criticized for advocating racial profiling.
Police insisted that if implemented, stop-and-frisk would be "done right." Legal experts expressed doubts, however.
"San Francisco for years has tried to develop ... policies that reduce racial profiling," said Alan Schlosser, ACLU of Northern California's legal director. "This just seems like a total reverse of that."