“Activists Call for Stronger Citizen Police Watchdogs”
By Candice Nguyen
Activists are calling for more police accountability in San Diego. Critics say widespread officer misconduct has been largely ignored by San Diego’s Citizens Review Board. NBC 7’s Candice Nguyen reports on June 11, 2015. (Published Friday, Jun 12, 2015)
A proposal to give more power to a San Diego police oversight committee will soon go before San Diego’s Public Safety & Livable Neighborhoods Committee. Dozens of civil rights activists and community members addressed city council members Thursday evening saying the city’s current Citizens’ Review Board is ineffective and too often sides with SDPD Internal Affairs findings.
“Regardless of whether they receive a complaint, they’re mandated to investigate every officer-involved shooting and with rare exceptions, they agree with the police department. They rely completely on the Internal Affairs investigation,” said Martha Sullivan with Women Occupy San Diego, a group spearheading the effort.
Manhunt Murder Suspect “Wanted to Surrender”: PD
The Citizens’ Review Board (CRB) on Police Practices was created by charter amendments that went in effect nine years ago.
On the city’s website, it states the board’s purpose is to: empower and independent citizens group to assure the public that complaints against San Diego police officers are investigated thoroughly, completely and fairly; and to recommend and advocate for policies which promote fair and humane policing of the city.
Critics say the review board turned a blind eye towards officer involved shootings and high-profile sexual misconduct cases involving police officers where taxpayers shelled out millions of dollars for settlements and damages.
“I live in Southeastern San Diego and the fear I have is one day one bad cop can instantly convert Southeast San Diego to a Ferguson or Baltimore,” said Barry Pollard.
On Thursday, Women Occupy San Diego presented a proposal to city council members. They recommended the city adopt a model much like the county’s review board, which includes independent investigators and subpoena power.
Sharmaine Moseley is the executive director of the Citizens Review Board. She was at the city council meeting and spoke before the city council.
“More things can be addressed and can be done. It’s a work in progress,” she said. “I hear Ferguson. San Diego is not a Ferguson.”
NBC 7 asked Moseley for an on camera interview, but she declined the request. She did acknowledge transparency is an issue and that she is looking into what information her board is able to release to the public without compromising officer privacy.”