You might’ve heard the question “Who polices the police?” get tossed around a lot over the last several months as cities across the nation grapple with how to hold law enforcement agencies accountable to the public.
This week, San Diego will take it up a notch: How do we police the group that polices the police?
On Thursday, the City Council’s charter-review committee — currently engaged in a months-long revise of the city’s main governing document — will consider proposing an overhaul to the citizen watchdog group that monitors the San Diego Police Department. The group’s role is enshrined in the City Charter.
The review comes at the request of a coalition of civil rights activists who are urging changes to how the Citizens Review Board on Police Practices (CRB) operates. Like with other charter revisions, any changes would need approval from the City Council and then voters.
The CRB is a 23-member, volunteer panel appointed by the mayor that reviews the department’s Internal Affairs investigations of so-called “Category One” citizen complaints, which can range from allegations of discrimination to improper use of force. If someone’s shot by an officer or dies during the arrest process, the CRB reviews those cases regardless of whether a complaint’s been filed.
Support Independent Journalism Today
It is ridiculous that San Diego chose to hire - and pay - a woman to man the CRB who AGREED with the police 97% of the time. The grand jury investigated and castigated the SDPD IA division for intimidating the CRB. Even with that intimidation, they did a better job that the new head of the CRB. Let's make it clear, the federal investigation says that SDPD is broken. The grand jury said the CRB is broken. SO, HEY, San Diego! Let's keep it broken by hiring a woman who will exonerate police MORE. Hats off to you San Diego.
Ye men and women of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? To put it another way, we are wasting time, trying to put teeth into the unwieldy CRB beast.
There are three essential interrelated problems
1.The SDPD practices biased policing, and uses elaborate deceptions to conceal it.
2.The District Attorney uses bias in her discretionary decisions as to who should or should not be prosecuted e.g.:
a)Shooting justified because man killed had a shiny object around his waist and was present in a suspected drug house. (I shall be careful in my choice of belt buckles.)
b)The abuse or persecution of Aaron Harvey and others.
3.The CRB is toothless, but the correction of item 1 and 2 makes that CRB shortcoming, and the CRB itself, irrelevant.
Federal litigation will provide relief on items 1 and 2 and the CRB and new executive director Moseley shall retain the irrelevant “toothless powers.” So I ask why is the ACLU (or other public advocates) sitting on its hands?
I have teeth and, to date, they have done me no good; not on these things.
Last month alone, Federal courts ruled against three SD Police Officers cleared by SDPD Internal Affairs:
• U.S. District Judge Larry Burns noted inconsistencies in the statements by SDPD Officer Jon McCarthy, who claimed Victor Ortega tried to take away his service revolver and his secondary weapon.
• A Federal Jury found that SDPD Officers Justin Mattly and Ariel Savage falsely arrested Javier Cota without probable cause, in violation of the 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Last week, San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis cleared 22 police shootings since 2013 :
• Two Thirds of these shootings were by SDPD officers
• Four were by Sheriffs
• 18 police shootings in 2013-2015 have yet to be reviewed by the D.A.
Mike Marrinan, civil rights attorney specializing in excessive force cases, said 40 shootings in two and a half years is "unacceptable" and that an independent agency should be examining why so many officers resort to deadly force in San Diego County.
As stated in the article the Civilian Review Board gets it's facts from the Internial Affairs section. It should also state that the CRB gets only the facts that the A.I. wants them to have. The only way a CRB can be effective is to have subpoena power and the ability to carry out a separate investigation from the police. How many times has the CRB and the police disagreed on an investigation? I'll bet not many. So the police are correct in their actions 99.9% of the time. Give me a break.
Everyone knows that our tax money pays for the police. What I want to know is that when police are sued in civil court for misconduct and are found guilty why do the tax payers have to pay for that too? Why can't the officers pay for their own individual insurance, like the malpractice insurance that Dr's. pay for? Once and officer is sued so many times and loses in civil court the insurance is canceled.