St. Louis Oracle

St. Louis-based political forecasting plus commentary on politics and events from a grassroots veteran with a mature, progressive anti-establishment perspective.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Civilian Review Approved by Public Safety Committee

The Public Safety Committee of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen passed Board Bill 69, Alderman Terry Kennedy's bill for a Civilian Review Board, with a "Do Pass" recommendation, on January 19.

The Civilian Review Board would conduct joint investigations of complaints against St. Louis police with the Police Internal Affairs Division and make recommendations about appropriate discipline. The CRB could also conduct independent investigations whenever it is dissatisfied with the joint investigation.

Two hot button issues have held up progress on the bill, both of which passed the committee in Kennedy's favor. The bill empowers the CRB to use the subpoena powers of the Board of Police Commissioners, and the CRB's seven members would include four elected by the people. The other three would be appointed by the Board of Aldermen.

These issues have divided the board along racial lines, with every African American alderman on record favoring the Kennedy bill as written and every white aldermen opposed to a bill with the subpoena powers and elected members. The committee vote went along racial lines, with five African American members in favor and two white members opposed.

Without change in the board's racial solidarity, the bill's prospects before the full board remain slim. The board has a slim 15-13 white majority, with Aldermanic President Jim Shrewsbury (D), a white, holding the tie-breaking vote.

Pressure will be on white aldermen representing wards with significant African American populations. Aldermen Joe Roddy (D-17) and Craig Schmid (D-20) represent wards with slight African American majorities, while Phyllis Young (D-7), Steve Conway (D-8) and Jennifer Florida (D-15) represent substantial African American minorities. Shrewsbury is elected citywide.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

With how the four elected members of the CRB are apportioned, northside voices will still be the minority. For while half of the elected members might come from the northside, the added appointments will likely lead to a maximum 3 of 7 members of the CRB being northsiders. So then, another layer of bureaucracy for what purpose?

January 23, 2006 at 9:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reading Kennedy's BB #69, all of the four proposed districts are contiguous, except for District Three, Ward 25 does not touch the other wards with which it is grouped. A simple fix is to exchange two wards (one each) between Districts Three and Four, switching Ward 25 with either Ward 8, 11, 13 or 14, any one of which is currently in District Four.

January 23, 2006 at 1:10 PM  
Anonymous Tim said...

I noticed on the B of A webpage that Conway is already listed as a sponsor of Board Bill 69.

January 25, 2006 at 1:12 PM  
Anonymous Deep Blue said...

Hmmm, especially after today's Rodney King part deux events... Shades of Blue: Key Stone Cops

January 30, 2006 at 10:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The biggest problem I see with Kennedy's bill is the "independent investigations" to be conducted by the CRB. Such investigations are not really "independent" if they are wholly reliant on information obtained from IAD; if this is not the case, the City would have to be prepared to fund its own investigators to staff the CRB. Moreover, even if the CRB "independent investigation" comes up with a conclusion different from IAD, it has

January 31, 2006 at 11:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...(continuation) no authority to impose its decision on the Police Board or the Chief. So in any event, the CRB's findings are only recommendations which the SLMPD can ignore. The CRB has no authority to take disciplinary action against any officer, or to force the Police Board to take action. I'm not sure what good it will do the community in the long run to have the CRB second-guessing the Chief and Police Board, particularly when the CRB is powerless to affect the outcome. If Ald. Kennedy would only be more forthcoming about this aspect of his bill, the public could understand what they are getting--or not getting--in considering whether to support it.

January 31, 2006 at 11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

FYI

The aldermanic president does not cast the Board's tie-breaking vote. He votes regularly as the Board's 29th vote.

February 5, 2006 at 5:49 PM  

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