BOSTON (WHDH) - On Tuesday, Boston City Councilors Andrea Campbell, Julia Mejia, and Ricardo Arroyo filed an ordinance establishing a Civilian Review Board.
The Board would serve as an independent body to primarily review, investigate, and resolve complaints of police misconduct submitted by members of the public or by other BPD officers or BPD personnel.
The ordinance would become law if approved by the City Council and signed by Mayor Walsh.
Councilor Campbell calls the idea of a new civilian review board, exciting, and something she’s been pushing for, for years.”It’s sad it’s taken the murders of George Floyd and so many others, to move on this,” says Campbell.
Boston does not currently have a true civilian review board. Instead, it has a Community Ombudsman Oversight Panel – known as a CO-OP.
7 Investigates found the current panel, which was created to review Boston Police affairs investigations. hasn’t met in more than a year.
Campbell cited our reporting, as an example of why the city needs something new.
The Civilian Review Board would replace the CO-OP.
“It’s truly independent from the police department,” says Councilor Campbell.
The newly proposed board would not only review internal affairs investigations, it would have the power to investigate, make findings and recommend disciplinary action.
The board also wants to be able to meet with the Police Commissioner and collect and publish BPD complaint data.
“It has broad authority to investigate a whole host of complaints, as well as subpoena power. It also allows for civilians and police officers to file complaints against other officers, not only with respect to police misconduct but other things they may see that are troubling with respect to policies and practice,” says Campbell.
The panel that currently exists , the CO-OP, reviews just 10% of already completed police investigations, and those cases are sent at the discretion of Boston Police.
“Right now we do not have something in place that can truly hold folks accountable. I think this is it,” sahs Campbell. “The police department is a little different right, and why? Because they have the ability to harm and for someone to lose their life. In this instance, accountability is critically important.”
The next step is to hold council hearings on the proposed board. Mayor Marty Walsh says he welcomes the proposal, and that his Boston Reform Task Force will take a look and make recommendations.
Read the full text of the release here.
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