FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 31, 2015
Contact: Martha Sullivan, email@example.com; 858/945-6273
Ballot Proposal for a Truly Independent Community Review Board on San Diego Police Practices
WHAT: Press Conference and Filling of Ballot Proposal with City Clerk
WHEN: TUESDAY, January 5, 2016, 10am
WHERE: Press Conference on steps of San Diego City Hall (202 "C" St.)
On Tuesday, January 5, 2016, Women Occupy San Diego will submit a Ballot Proposal to the City Clerk to make the Citizens Review Board on Police Practices (CRB) truly independent and transparent. We do so on behalf of 19 civic organizations who have endorsed a Charter Amendment for the November 2016 ballot San Diego City Council Policy 000-21 allows anyone to file a Ballot Proposal with the City Clerk for consideration by the City Council Rules Committee and ultimate referral to the full City Council.
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 this proposal to the Charter Review Committee last June, which referred it to the Public Safety & Livable Neighborhoods 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. No further action has been forthcoming, despite our repeated follow-up, as well as an editorial by the San Diego Union-Tribune:
"As a San Diego City Council committee considers a wide range of possible City Charter changes for submission to voters next year, we hope it pushes forward ideas to strengthen the powers of the Citizens Review Board on Police Practices. The U-T editorial board is not yet prepared to endorse these added powers, but we think it is an important debate for voters to have and to decide."
In the interim, more reasons for why we need this simple Good Government Charter Amendment have surfaced in the press, including a recent 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 recent 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, reinforces the need for INDEPENDENT investigation and legal counsel of officer-involved deaths. 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.