Black & Blue Report Back: Action Items from Oct. 11th Meeting

Report Back: Action Items from Oct. 11th Meeting

1. LOCAL

A) Civilian Review Board
For years citizens and organizations have demanded a civilian review board.  When public political pressure was at its height former Mayor Menino initiated the CO-OP (Community Ombudsman Oversight Panel) in efforts to appease the public and stave off public criticism. BOSTON NEEDS AN ACTUAL CIVILIAN REVIEW BOARD. This board should be made of 8-12 members of the general public from all walks of life reflecting the diversity of Boston and not appointed by the Mayor. Members should be nominated and/or apply and once chosen should be provided basic training in BPD standard operational procedures, the Internal Affairs process and BPD regulations as it pertains to conduct, excessive force and deadly force.

B) CO-OP  (Community Ombudsman Oversight Panel)
The CO-OP was established by Mayor Menino by executive order in 2007.  The CO-OP has functioned since, somewhat in limbo, with almost no knowledge of its existence by the general public.  The CO-OP was originally a 3 member body of legal professionals appointed solely by the Mayor.  The last report was issued in 2013 and the panel has withered with limited support and resources.  Currently, there are only 2 listed members of the CO-OP. THE CO-OP NEEDS TO BE STRENGTHENED AND GRANTED SUBPOENA POWERS.  Mayor Walsh should appoint a 3rd member to the panel immediately and begin the process to grant the CO-OP subpoena powers, the ability to initiate its own investigations and begin a citywde awareness campaign to alert the public to its mission and existence.

WE WANT BOTH A CIVILIAN REVIEW BOARD AND THE CO-OP TO WORK TOGETHER IN TANDEM ON ISSUES OF POLICE MISCONDUCT.

2. STATE

Massachusetts State Commission on Policing
There needs to be established a statewide commission on policing that will cover the issues of police brutality, excessive force, deadly force, corruption, misconduct, diversity in ranks including hiring/firing/promotions and disciplinary actions. The State Commission on Policing would ensure that police are not only investigated and disciplined by their own city/town departments, adding an additional level of accountability to the public. A statewide commission with the power to pursue its own investigations would serve as a check and balance to ensure allegations of police misconduct are thoroughly reviewed by an impartial party and relieve cities/towns and county officials such as DA’s who are too close to their respective police departments to render findings impartially.   Across the country there are State Commissions on judicial conduct, ethics and more.  Here in Massachusetts there is a “Massachusetts Correction Commission” which monitors all aspects of correctional institutions in the commonwealth from finances to policy.

 

3. FEDERAL

Department of Justice Investigation of BPD
The Boston Police Department has a long history of injustice and bad treatment as it relates to people of color, particularly Black People in Boston. While Boston has launched a national campaign to restore its image of a racist city with a violent past, little has been done to address the history of the police department.  There are cases of brutality, corruption, police killing civilians in every decade since at least the 1960’s.  Some of these cases have cost the city millions of dollars in settlements and judgments.  Baltimore faced a similar problem and City Council President Bernard “Jack” Young sent a letter to the DOJ urging an investigation into the Baltimore PD.  Here in Boston, we have the agreement of City Councillor Charles Yancey that he will send a similar letter to the DOJ requesting and investigation and assistance in reforming the BPD. We are additionally asking Councillors Ayanna Pressley and Tito Jackson to sign this letter along with other councillors of good conscience.

29 Black/Latino/Cape Verdean People killed by Boston Police Department since 1988
3 killed since 2013 Read more here: http://blackstonian.com/info/2013/06/cop-shootings/

Department Of Justice May Look Into Baltimore Police Brutality  October 6, 2014
Read more: http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2014/10/06/department-of-justice-may-look-into-baltimore-police-brutality/ 

DOJ to work with Baltimore City police on reform
Read more: http://www.wbaltv.com/news/doj-to-work-with-baltimore-city-police-on-reform/29232540#ixzz3Gmrm83hS

U.S. Dept. of Justice reveals plans to review Baltimore Police Dept.
Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/crime/blog/bs-md-justice-probe-20141017-story.html#page=1

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