MEDIA ADVISORY: June 27, 2016
Contact: Martha Sullivan, 858-945-6273, firstname.lastname@example.org
WHAT: San Diego City Council Prioritizes Civilian Police Reform
WHEN: TUESDAY, June 28, 2016, 2 PM
WHERE: San Diego City Hall (202 “C” St.), City Council Chambers
On Tuesday, June 28, 2016, during the afternoon session (starts 2 pm), the San Diego City Council will consider Item 334: “the recommendations of the Charter Review Committee to amend Charter Section 43(d) Citizens’ Review Board on Police Practices(CRB) to 1) Rename the CRB as the Community Review Board on Police Practices; 2) Replace references to the City Manager with Mayor and City Council; and 3) Add to the Charter that the Review Board shall review all cases involving in-custody deaths and officer-related shootings.” And “Direct the City Attorney to prepare related ballot language and ordinances and return to Council for consideration after the November 8, 2016 election has been called.”
While Women Occupy San Diego (WOSD) appreciates the City Council’s prioritization of Civilian Police Reform on this November Ballot, after more than 2 years of meeting with Councilmembers and presenting to 3 Council Committees, representing a year of research before that and many community meetings and stakeholder interviews, we continue to be profoundly disappointed. These are only cosmetic changes and do nothing to improve the CRB’s ability to actually investigate a complaint about the police department.
The current CRB already reviews all police involved deaths so the proposed Charter Amendment codifies existing practice. Giving the City Council joint authority with the Mayor over this board in the Charter will give the Council standing to effect changes in how the CRB operates, which is a good thing long term, but given turnover on the Council after the November election, meaningful reform of the CRB will be delayed. Changing the name of the CRB to Community Review Board was the only thing in the Ballot Proposal endorsed by the 27 community organizations that the Charter Review Committee voted to forward to the full Council.
On April 20, 2016, we joined two dozen other community representatives to speak to the Charter Review Committee in opposition to this recommendation, stating that the only real reform would include giving the CRB subpoena power and the ability to hire independent investigators and independent legal counsel. The Charter Review Committee was urged by 27 community organizations to align the CRB’s powers with that of the Ethics Commission, which has jurisdiction over the conduct of City elected officials, candidates for such offices and City employees – except the SDPD. Last year, City taxpayers paid out $9.4 million in court awards and claims for misconduct by SDPD officers, but apparently there’s no money for independent investigators and legal counsel with subpoena powers?
What is the San Diego City Council afraid of?
WOSD and other CRB reform supporters will continue to monitor the performance of the CRB to evaluate its effectiveness moving forward. We invite residents of San Diego to attend tonight’s public CRB meeting (6:30pm) at the City Heights Library, 3795 Fairmont Av.
United Against Police Terror is an endorser of Women Occupy San Diego’s effort in forming an independant Community Review Board on Police Practices