Grand Jury Issues Scathing Report On Citizens’ Review Board On Police Practices
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
A San Diego grand jury report made public today says the city's Citizens' Review Board on Police Practices operates in an atmosphere of prejudice, fear and intimidation that impairs the ability of members to render independent and impartial decisions.
Grand Jury Report
The CRB is an independent citizens group that evaluates serious complaints brought by the public against San Diego police officers and advocates for policies that promote fair and humane police practices.
According to today's grand jury report, the CRB has allowed police with the Internal Affairs Division to attend the board's closed session meetings for several years, contributing to the atmosphere of fear and intimidation.
Members of the IA Division argue, lecture and sometimes bully CRB members into changing their minds, and IA officers have told the CRB that they never want any dissenting votes passed on to the mayor or chief of police, according to the grand jury report.
In addition, CRB leadership is weak and lacks the will to control meetings, including the behavior of CRB members toward one another. This fosters a lack of decorum, according to the report, which noted an atmosphere of fear and intimidation between some CRB member and a high turnover rate among prospective board members.
The process of CRB members interviewing and selecting candidates for prospective board members and recommending them to the mayor for appointment allows bias, prejudice and other personal feelings of the interview committee members to influence the board's recommendations, the grand jury report said.
The grand jury recommends stopping IA officers from attending CRB closed sessions and interfering with the board, both during their file reviews and deliberations.
The grand jury also recommends the mayor appoint a three-member team, independent of the CRB, to investigate and evaluate the current CRB executive leadership to determine if changes are needed.
To stop cronyism and promote ethnic and economic diversity, the grand jury recommends that the mayor establish an interview committee, independent from the CRB, for the selection of prospective board members, and reduce from eight to four years the number of consecutive years a board member can serve.
The San Diego City Attorney's office issued a statement in response to the report.
"We appreciate the input and findings from the grand jury," it said. "Our office is working on a response to their recommendations and will do so within the required time frame."