A proposal asking for changes that would create more transparency and oversight for the City of San Diego’s police review board moved forward Wednesday.
The City of San Diego’s Charter Review Committee will now consider the proposal that would make changes to the City of San Diego’s Citizens Review Board on Police Practices. The Board was approved by voters in 1988 to help relieve tensions in the city after the shooting death of a police officer by a young black man in southeast San Diego.
"Women Occupy San Diego" submitted the proposal to the San Diego City Council Rules Committee in January. Some of the proposed changes include having independent investigators for the Review Board, more diverse citizen board members and opening all of the Board meetings to the public. To help with the diversity of the board, the proposal would allow city council members to appoint board member from their districts. Since some of the proposed changes could alter the City Charter, a vote of the public may be necessary.
While the proposal continues to be considered by council, the Review Board is also working on possible changes it can make. Council has asked the Review Board to keep them updated on the progress of those changes.
An NBC 7 Investigates story revealed two former board members, Lucy Pearson and Benetta Buell-Wilson, said they think the board has a “fixed” and ineffective review process. According to the women, the process subverts the board's intent, something that’s detrimental not just for citizens but for SDPD officers as well.
Buell-Wilson and Pearson claim a lack of transparency and secret decision-making stifles dissent between members and the city. Both women said CRB members who are "pro-police" get the more serious cases, depriving the complaining citizens of a fair hearing.
Women Occupy San Diego members said the NBC 7 Investigates story inspired them to "include independent legal counsel” for the Board.