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Ballot Measure Proposed To Reform San Diego Citizens Police Review Board

Ballot Measure To Make San Diego Citizens Police Review Board More Independent Proposed

GUESTS:

Kate Yavenditti, committee member, Women Occupy San Diego

Jude Litzenberger, former member of the San Diego's Citizens Review Board on Police Practices

The San Diego City Council Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee will hear a proposal Wednesday to increase the power of the San Diego Citizens Police Review Board, or CRB.

The proposal includes giving the board subpoena power and the ability to work with independent investigators and independent counsel. The San Diego City Council must decide whether to put the proposed measure on the November ballot.

The Citizens Police Review Board is made up of 23 volunteers who review serious complaints brought by the public. The board also reviews all police actions that result in a death. Critics say a review board that must rely on the information and legal guidance provided by law enforcement and the city of San Diego is not good enough.

Kate Yavenditti, a committee member for Women Occupy San Diego — which is proposing the ballot measure — and Jude Litzenberger, a former member of the Citizens Police Review Board, discussed their proposals Tuesday on KPBS Midday Edition.

"We started this because we felt there was no citizen trust in the Citizens Review Board," said Yavenditti.

"When people hear that all the investigations are done by the police department — by internal affairs — and then reviewed by the Citizens Review Board, people would say 'why bother.' They don’t feel that it’s independent."

Yavendittis said Occupy formulated the proposals based in part on personal experience. She said Occupy has made 17 complaints about police treatment of its members, but none of the complaints have made it to the Citzens Review Board.

Litzenberger said she felt there was "considerable" weakness in the system when she served on the review board.

"If it assisted in exonerating the officer, we got the law on it from the city attorney. If it assisted the citizen, nothing was said. It was very one-sided," she said.

Yavenditti said it was unclear what the proposed reforms would cost San Diego taxpayers, because she doesn't know the current budget of the Citizens Review Board. She said a figure of $900,000 sounded close.

KPBS invited the executive director of the Citizens Police Review Board to participate in this interview. They were unavailable.

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