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Grand Jury Issues Scathing Report On Citizens’ Review Board On Police Practices

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.

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."

Comments

Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 22, 2012 at 8:47 p.m. ― 2 years, 3 months ago

I imagine the good cops out there would want this to be a fair and impartial check and balance system to objectively evaluate situations and root out corruption.

All I can do is wonder how something so blatantly biased is allowed to go on like this for years.

Thanks to KPBS for reporting on this.

The very fact it has been going on so long is proof it has fallen under the media's radar either unintentionally or, as with the *Pravda UT* and the journalistically jaundiced local tv news outlets like *KUSI: News for the Small Minded*, **INTENTIONALLY**.

KPBS, please Please stay on top of this.

It's important.

You brought the corruption of the food stamp program run by the county to light, and you stuck with it. You ask county officials about it whenever thy are on your program and don't let them sweep it under the rug.

Please do the same here. Stay on this until it's fixed, and whenever you are interviewing law enforcement ask bout this. Whenever you are interviewing mayoral candidates ask about it. I'd like to know if DeMaio, Dumanis, Filner, and Fletcher support the grand jury's recommendations and if not, why?

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | May 23, 2012 at 9:18 a.m. ― 2 years, 3 months ago

Corrupt, bullying, intimidating cops? I am SHOCKED!

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Avatar for user 'Pat Finn'

Pat Finn, KPBS Staff | May 23, 2012 at 1:45 p.m. ― 2 years, 3 months ago

Also thanks to our partner 10News for their reporting and digging on this story. More on this when 10News Managing Editor JW August appears on Friday's Roundtable.

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Avatar for user 'asimons'

asimons | May 23, 2012 at 2:18 p.m. ― 2 years, 3 months ago

As a participant in Occupy San Diego since October 2011, I personally viewed the "questionable" practices of SDPD and was myself intimidated by officers while rallying on public sidewalks. I noticed a major difference in the way I (a senior citizen) was treated in 2011 and back in 2008 while expressing my freedom of speech. In 2008, there was never a police presence at any anti-war or single payer healthcare rally. However, when 8 of us showed up at a corner in Clairemont in Dec 2011, 8 police officers were present while we held signs on the sidewalk. What a waste of my taxpayer dollars, but what is the mayor and chief of police so afraid of?

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