There was a new round of community friction Monday over Mayor Jean Stothert’s proposal for a review board to hear complaints against police.
Community leader Reynaldo Certantes said, "It's a slap in the face to anybody's integrity that she would address such a serious issue with this type of powerless approach."
A group of community leaders and activists gathered to say they were not invited to the table when the mayor was working out her plan for a citizen complaint review board.
They say recent events have demonstrated that nothing has changed and some people in the minority community are becoming desperate. They are demanding a police auditor with the power to subpoena and investigate citizens’ complaints.
D'Shaun Cunningham said, “Personally, I'm done asking the mayor. I'm gonna be out in the streets. I don't trust the police. I don't trust the mayor. I don't trust any of them to do what they say they're gonna do."
Marlin McClarity added, "I would never advocate the killing or injury of any police officer. Nobody in this room would. But the reality of this situation is if these young men don't feel they have a mechanism in which they can go and feel confident that their concerns and their complaints are going to be addressed, then if this is the only outlet that they feel that they have, then this is what they’re going to choose to utilize."
The mayor said her review board must follow the law and the police union contract. She says it does that.
She said, “Some of the complaints I have heard is that they want more. They want to be able to, number one, be paid. They want to be able to subpoena. They want to issue the discipline. Frankly, they don't understand the law. I have to abide by what the law is and I have to abide by what the labor contract is and they're leaving that out of the equation."
The mayor said she expected some criticism but she has also received many compliments about her idea for a citizen review board.
“Very few are reacting negatively, very few,” she said. “There is a very small core group of people that I would call activists that want a lot more. But they don't understand the law. You know, this weekend, I was approached by many people who said, good job. This is what we need. It may need to be tweaked along the way, which we can. It's an executive order but it's better than what we have now and that is nothing."
The mayor said that 80 people have applied to be on her citizen complaint review board so far.