Civilian Review Approved by Public Safety Committee
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.