Board of Supervisors Unanimously Approves Malia Cohen for Police Commission
Nominated by Mayor London Breed, Cohen will bring experience advocating for social justice and police reform to the Commission
San Francisco, CA — The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve Malia M. Cohen to serve on the Police Commission. In July, Mayor London N. Breed nominated Cohen to serve on the Commission, the seven-member body charged with setting policy for the Police Department and conducting disciplinary hearings when police conduct charges are filed.
“I am proud to have nominated Malia Cohen to the Police Commission and am excited that she will soon begin serving in this new role. We have the opportunity to reimagine what policing and the criminal justice system looks like in San Francisco, and I know that Malia will be a critical voice on the Commission to guide this transformation and make our system more equitable and just,” said Mayor Breed. “Recent police killings and shootings of unarmed African Americans require that we rethink the role that police play in our communities, and this is an issue that Malia has been a leader on her whole career. I’m confident that she’ll continue to move this issue forward on the Police Commission and will do so in a way that keeps our community safe while also advancing much-needed change.”
“I want to thank Mayor Breed and the Members of the Board of Supervisors who have placed their confidence in me," said Malia Cohen. “As an African American woman who grew up in San Francisco—and who has the privilege of representing the residents of our City in elected service—I feel a great sense of responsibility. I look forward to working with Executive Director Paul Henderson and DPA staff, SFPD Chief William Scott, and the men and women of our Department, and community justice partners to make progress on the path of reform. I take to heart the recommendations of Mayor Breed in her roadmap for police reforms to fundamentally change the nature of policing in San Francisco, and to address systemic racism. As a Police Commissioner, I will join with my colleagues to ensure continual and transparent reviews of the policies and practices of the SFPD; and will always work to ensure that the voices from all of our communities—particularly persons of color—are heard.”
Cohen serves on the California State Board of Equalization (BOE). She served as the Chair of the BOE in 2019, and she is the first African-American woman to serve on the Board. As a member of the BOE, Cohen represents nearly 10 million constituents in Northern and Central California. Prior to serving on the BOE, she was President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, where she represented District 10 for eight years and was Chair of the Budget and Finance Committee.
Throughout her life, Cohen has fought for diversity and inclusion. As a member of the Board of Supervisors, Cohen was instrumental in banning the use of chokeholds by the San Francisco Police Department. In 2016, she led the effort to create the independent Department of Police Accountability, with expanded powers to audit the police department and investigate all police shootings. In addition to her leadership on police reform, Cohen has championed policies and programs that protect public health, foster economic development, promote new affordable housing, and that create good jobs.
In June, Mayor Breed announced a roadmap to fundamentally change the nature of policing in San Francisco and issued a set of policies to address structural inequities. She proposed four priorities to achieve this vision: ending the use of police in response to non-criminal activity; addressing police bias and strengthening accountability; demilitarizing the police; and promoting economic justice. These policies build on the City’s ongoing work to meet the standards contained in President Obama’s 2015 Task Force on 21st Century Policing. In her role on the Commission, Cohen will oversee the development and implementation of these critical reforms.
Cohen was born and raised in San Francisco. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Fisk University, a historically Black university in Nashville, Tennessee, and a Masters in Science in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She resides in the Bayview neighborhood with her husband, attorney Warren Pulley.