City Council Committee Agrees To Re-Do Police Oversight Ordinance Following Community Backlash
Speaker 1: 00:01 After strong opposition from critics, a San Diego city council committee has agreed to make changes in its first try of setting up the rules and regulations for the new commission on police practices. The commission was established by voters who overwhelmingly approved the city's measure B last fall. It replaces the community review board on police practices by giving them the new police oversight group subpoena power and independent investigative authority to review police shootings and in custody deaths. But the draft ordinance released by the city council earlier this week was criticized for containing loopholes and red flags that critics say could water down the authority of the new commission. Joining me is reporter Kelly Davis writing for voice of San Diego and Kelly. Welcome to the show. Speaker 2: 00:50 Hi, thanks Maureen. Now this draft Speaker 1: 00:52 Ordinance got pounded by critics for being both too little and too late. The draft was expected over a month ago, wasn't it? Yeah, Speaker 2: 01:00 There's been a group of, of advocates who've been meeting since shortly after measure B passed, you know, to discuss what they'd like to see in this draft. And they were told to expect a draft ordinance before more Morial day that came and went. Then they were told, you know, June 16th or 17th, that deadline came and went. Then they were told to expect it on June 22nd, which would give them only two days to review it before a big meeting on June 24th where a city council committee was gonna discuss the, what was in the draft. So voice of San Diego's, Andy Keats reported on Monday about the frustration with, with this, you know, lack of a draft to review. And shortly after his story was published, um, Monday morning, a draft was released and folks were able to look over it, you know, starting that afternoon, but it still only gave them two and a half days before the meeting to review it. And, um, I should add the, that it was the city attorney's office that was writing the draft ordinance. The Speaker 1: 02:07 Group that promoted measure bay San Diegans for justice spoke out strongly against sections of the draft ordinance. What were some of their major concerns? They felt Speaker 2: 02:17 Wording in certain sections wasn't precise enough. And for that reason opened up the possibility that that certain powers the commission was promised could be undermined. For instance, Andrea St. Julian who authored measure B she's an attorney. She felt the section on subpoena power, which was so important to measure, be supporters the way it was worded. It could potentially limit their ability to issue subpoenas to only certain situations. Folks were very clear that they wanted to have a community panel that would nominate members of the commission, but the ordinance, the way it's written now, it doesn't explicitly allow for that. Um, and I, with I had a couple experts in police oversight, take a look at the draft and they both pointed out a number of issues. Um, for instance, uh, the, the, the draft did not obligate the police chief to respond to commission recommendations, which, you know, could come off as the chief just ignoring, you know, work that the commission has put into investigating allegations of misconduct. One Speaker 1: 03:25 Of the big stumbling blocks to seems to be that the commission rules under the draft ordinance would be subject to collective bargaining negotiations with police unions. And that was sort of a thing that the, uh, measure B supporters do not want to see in that final ordinance. Yeah, Speaker 2: 03:44 Well, while the police union can invoke a process called meet and confer over aspects, um, if there's anything in this ordinance that will impact working conditions, they could, um, you know, trigger process called meet and confer. But, um, the language about the ability to, um, meet for this collective bargaining process between the city and the police union, this would happen behind closed doors, um, you know, experts and the community groups. Um, they just felt like the language was, was, was way too strong on that and could potentially allow, uh, collective bargaining to, to undermine, um, you know, various aspects of, of, of measure B. Now the Speaker 1: 04:33 City council committee that was reviewing this draft ordinances, headed by a council member, Monica Montgomery step, what was her reaction to this criticism? And what was the action or reaction of other council members to this criticism? Speaker 2: 04:48 So council member, Montgomery steps, she's been kind of the point person on, on measure B on getting this, this draft ordinance written. And she had been working with city attorneys and she understood, you know, the community concerns that she assured folks that, that this is just a draft. Um, so, so the public safety and, um, neighborhood services commission that she chairs, they said, you know, we're not going to vote on this. Um, they had their meeting yesterday morning. We're not going to vote on this. We're going to continue working on this. And she said, she makes sure that community concerns are addressed. So, Speaker 1: 05:26 Um, actually though what happens now, who's going to be revising the ordinance. Speaker 2: 05:30 It'll go back to the city attorney's office, but it will go back with this list of concerns that committee members have brought up. And, Speaker 1: 05:39 Uh, San Diego for justice actually, uh, had a response to the draft ordinance. They called it the community ordinance is the city council. Speaker 2: 05:47 Definitely. Yeah. That will be part of, kind of the package that travels, you know, with this draft back to the city attorney's office for revisions and council member, Montgomery steps said, this is going to be, you know, an ongoing process that, you know, they will work on this until it, you know, until these, these concerns are addressed and a fellow council member, um, Marnie Von Wilpert. She promised that the folks who supported Mader measure B will get the robust police oversight that they, that they wanted to see. Speaker 1: 06:22 I've been, we're the voice of San Diego reporter Kelly Davis and Kelly. Thank you very much. Thank you, Maureen.