City Council Committee to Hear Ballot Proposal, Recommendation to Charter Review Committee Urged
By Women Occupy San Diego
On Wednesday, March 23rd Women Occupy San Diego will present its community-backed Ballot Proposal to make the Citizens Review Board on Police Practices (CRB)more independent and transparent to the San Diego City Council’s Public Safety & Liveable Neighborhoods (PSLN) Committee. We will do so on behalf of 25 civic organizations who have endorsed a Charter Amendment for the November 2016 ballot.
On January 5, 2016, in accordance with San Diego City Council Policy 000-21, we filed this Ballot Proposal for consideration by the City Council Rules Committee for referral to the full City Council to be placed on the Ballot for the November 2016 General Election. On January 13, 2016, the Rules Committee held this item over to its meeting of June 15, 2016, where it will consider Ballot Proposals for the November 2016 Election. On that same day, the Charter Review Committee, Chaired by City Council President Lightner,requested that the PSLN Committee hear this Ballot Proposal and make a recommendation to the Charter Review Committee for its determination on inclusion in its recommended Charter Amendments prior to June.
Since then, we have made changes to this Ballot Proposal based on input from current and former CRB members, the ACLU, the Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association, the Police Officers Association and others. Our revised Ballot Proposal with revisions noted by underlining, may be found at this link. (Item 3).
This proposed Charter Amendment would give the CRB independent investigators and legal counsel as well as subpoena powers, like the City’s own Ethics Commission and except for legal counsel, the San Diego County Law Enforcement Review Board since 1990. This Amendment also renames the CRB the COMMUNITY Review Board to reflect the fact that ALL San Diegans are impacted by the San Diego Police Department, and it will have 3 members appointed by each of the City Council Districts to ensure representation of our diverse City.
We presented much of this proposal to the Charter Review Committee last June, which referred it to the PSLN Committee, to which we presented in late September. The PSLN Committee seemed to find that this proposal requires a Charter Amendment, which would be in the Charter Review Committee’s purview.
Any institution that investigates itself has a built-in conflict of interest.
In the interim, more reasons for this simple Good Government Charter Amendment surfaced in the press, including a NBC7/39 Investigates report on the failings of the current CRB. This report inspired us to revise our proposal to include independent legal counsel for the CRB, as provided for the City’s Ethics Commission.
The release of security camera video by court order in the case of Afghan refugee, Fridoon Rawshan Nehad, shot dead by San Diego Police Officer Neal Broward in a Midway alley last April, and the recent filing of felony charges against Lincoln High School students, one of whom was Tased by an SD Unified School District police officer, once SDPD took over the investigation from SD Unified School District Police reinforces the need for INDEPENDENT investigation and legal counsel of officer-involved deaths and use of force.
Any institution that investigates itself has a built-in conflict of interest. We believe this to be true of the San Diego Police Department, City Attorney and District Attorney representing San Diego City law enforcement powers, and it must change.
Earlier this year, the Editorial Board of the San Diego Union-Tribune agreed:
“Trust in law enforcement is an essential part of civilization and civility, and we have it. But we realize it’s ebbing in others, especially in minority communities. A report last year showed that San Diego officers pull over minorities disproportionately more than whites, just one area of concern.
“At last count, the review board’s 23 members included only four blacks and one Asian. The panel’s executive director is working to increase minority representation. A public campaign to fully vet this issue will drum up interest in the board and its work. We urge the City Council to let voters decide this in November, by putting this measure on the ballot as written or fine-tuning it first.
“For everyone’s sake.”
(January 6, 2016)
Supporters include: Activist San Diego, Af3irm San Diego, All of Us or None – San Diego, BAPAC (Black American Political Assn of California), San Diego Chapter; Black and Brown Lives Matter, Black Student Justice Coalition, Citizens Oversight Projects, Coordinating Committee of the San Diego Socialist Campaign, Democratic Socialists of America – San Diego, Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association, First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego, Social Justice Ministry Team, Interfaith Center for Worker Justice, National Lawyers Guild, National Action Network-San Diego, Ocean Beach Green Center, Older Women’s League-San Diego County, Peace Resource Center of San Diego, San Diego Urban League, SD Coalition for Peace and Justice, San Diego Black Agenda Project, San Diego Veterans for Peace,Showing Up for Racial Justice/San Diego, United Against Police Terror San Diego, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom-SD Chapter, Women Occupy San Diego