Councillor Yancey Proposes Effective Civilian Review Board

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Boston City Councillor Charles C. Yancey
Boston City Councillor Charles C. Yancey

Boston City Councillor Charles C. Yancey introduced an ordinance establishing of a civilian review board in Boston on February 4, 2015 during a Boston City Council meeting.
The 11-member Board will review grievances of Boston citizens with complaints against members of the Boston Police Department operating in the City of Boston.
The Board will have subpoena power with authority to act independently to receive, investigate, and conduct hearings on complaints of misconduct against Boston Police Officers. The Board may investigate grievances with absolute sovereignty from the influences of Boston city government and the Boston Police Department.
The Board will have authority to sanction the behavior of supervisors for misconduct; to issue sanctions requiring retraining, restitution, or disciplinary action; and to guarantee whistle-blower protection for law enforcement officers who report the misconduct of their fellow officers.
Police misconduct may include harassment, false imprisonment, use of excessive force, serious bodily injury, a death resulting by law enforcement action, and abusive language, which may be related to race, gender, religion, ethnicity, disability, or sexual orientation.
“I believe the timing is appropriate for creation of an effective civilian review board that will help discourage police practices that are harmful to the life and liberty of all Boston residents,” Yancey said.
Yancey noted that the Board’s strength lies in its sovereignty and its conclusiveness.
Board findings, recommendations, and im-posed sanctions are final and must be accepted by the Boston Police Department without any reduction of charges or downgrading of disciplinary recommendations, and are swiftly imposed within 72 hours.
Yancey said during the Council meeting that he anticipates opposition by those who see his effort as punishment to the police, but he added that the sole purpose of his ordinance is to establish a system of accountability within the Boston Police Department.
The Boston Civilian Review Board will be comprised of 11 members, whose minimum age will be 18 years, and who will be appointed by 11 Boston nonprofit organizations.
Each Board member will be selected to serve by a non-profit organization that has outstanding commitment to civil rights and justice in the City of Boston.
Board members must be Boston residents, must have extensive experience in the areas of civil rights and community leadership, and must be reflective of Boston’s diversity in regards to age, race, gender, language, religion, ethnicity, disability, and sexual orientation. Y2015

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