Demand for Citizen Police Review Boards Spreads Across US
In a late June City Council meeting in Richmond, Virginia – called after weeks of nightly protests, often with police shooting tear gas and pepper spraying demonstrators – Mayor Levar Stoney added his city to the list of those seeking a civilian police review board.
“Richmond is ready for a new approach to public safety,” said the 39-year-old Black mayor, who faced the brunt of criticism for the police’s brutal response. He then asked the council to create a citizen-led body “charged with reviewing complaints and making recommendations following police department investigations.”
What Stoney put in motion will be no easy task. While civilian boards have existed since the early 1990s, they are by nature a reaction to something bad happening in the community – officer-involved shootings, protests gone wrong and the like.
“Communities recognize it’s not a matter of if, but when there’s a major event,” said Liana Perez, director of operations for the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement, or NACOLE.