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Community Organizers Call For More Accountability In National City Police Oversight

Members of the public speak at the National City Community and Police Relatio...

Photo by Kris Arciaga

Above: Members of the public speak at the National City Community and Police Relations Commission meeting on August 16, 2018.

The civilian commission overseeing the National City Police Department met Thursday night for the first time since Earl McNeil was hospitalized while in police custody and later died. They heard from community organizers, who called for more consistency and accountability from Community and Police Relations Commission.

RELATED: Critics Of Earl McNeil Investigation Call For District Attorney’s Office To Recuse Itself

The commission is supposed to have eight members but currently has six. They recently got caught up on a three-year-old backlog of cases.

Yusef Miller, with the group Justice For Earl McNeil, said the community is losing confidence in the commission's effectiveness.

“They don't meet regularly. They're not fully staffed. We don't feel that they are committed to the process enough and there is no mechanism to make them committed," Miller said.

RELATED: Protesters Shut Down National City Council Meeting Over Earl McNeil Death, Arrests Made

The CPRC did try to address some long-standing concerns by voting to change some bylaws. Now the commission is required to review police department procedures and training at least twice a year. They also voted to require the Complaint Review Subcommittee to attempt to meet once a month rather than quarterly.

Community organizers who spoke at Thursday's meeting also suggested that a member of a humanitarian organization be required to be on the committee.

RELATED: Who Killed San Diego’s Police Oversight Reform Measure?

CPRC Chairman Victor Barajas said, “Is there a need for improvement? Absolutely. If you ever get to the point where you feel you don't need improvement you've failed as an entity. And I think today was perfect example of what those objectives are."

The National City Community and Police Relations Commission will meet again at 6 p.m., Nov. 15 in the council chambers.

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