At this month’s meeting we’ll hear from clubmember Martha Sullivan and representatives from Women Occupy San Diego on efforts to reform the Citizens Police Review Board. We noticed in last month’s newsletter that we’ll vote to endorse their proposal at this meeting.
Presently the all volunteer Citizens Police Review Board has to rely on information provided by law enforcement and legal advice from the city of San Diego, hardly impartial advisors.
The proposal to improve the Board would give it subpoena power and the ability to work with independent investigators and independent counsel.
“When people hear that all the investigations are done by the police department — by internal affairs — and then reviewed by the Citizens Review Board, people would say ‘why bother.’ They don’t feel that it’s independent.” – said Kate Yavenditti, a committee member for Women Occupy San Diego.
Women Occupy formulated their proposals based on personal experience. Of 17 complaints about police treatment of its members, none made it to the Citzens Review Board.
On March 23, a community-backed proposal to make the Citizens Review Board on Police Practices more independent and transparent was presented to the City Council Committee on Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods.
The committee voted to recommend a very small portion of the proposal to the Council Charter Review Committee. This will be considered at the next Charter Review meeting on April 20. The recommendations are:
1) To amend the City Charter to change the name to “Community” rather than “Citizens” Review Board
2) To change authority from the City Manager to joint Mayor/City Council
3) To specify that CRB’s scope includes all police shootings and in-custody deaths.
These recommendations do not even begin to address the real problems, which are lack of transparency and trust in the police.
The City Attorney has ruled that CRB operations can only be changed by the Mayor or Ballot Measure. In light of this, we must demand that the Charter Review Committee include these important needed reforms on the November Ballot: independent legal counsel, independent investigators and subpoena power.
The March 2015 Department of Justice (DOJ) report on San Diego Policing found “San Diego police officers are more likely to stop Hispanic and African-American drivers and more likely to use force than officers in similar-sized cities.” In a recent case against the SDPD, the city requested that this DOJ finding not be allowed as evidence in the case. A Federal Judge rejected the city’s request. In light of this case and others, the Reader recently published an article Police dust-up with family a sizable can of worms highlighting the need for our Community Review Board Ballot Measure.
The current ballot proposal with revisions, noted by underlining, may be found here.
See Item 3!
Twenty six civic organizations have endorsed a Charter Amendment for the November 2016 ballot – come along to learn more, and vote on endorsing this proposal.
We’ll also hear from Democratic candidates running for election on June 7, including George Castil who’s running for Mayor of Lemon Grove.
Monday April 18, 7pm – Social Time from 6:30pm
Members are encouraged to get together from 6:30pm before the meeting starts.
Please bring whatever light drinks/snacks that you’d like to share.
We meet at the Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans – PANA
4089 Fairmount Ave, San Diego, CA 92105 (map)
The building is on the south-east corner of Polk and Fairmount, just north of University. Parking is also available at the adjoining Southern Sudanese and East African Community Centers on Fairmount Ave. Bus routes 7 and 13.
Call or email (619) 900-4751 firstname.lastname@example.org