Rochester’s City Council meeting was filled once again Tuesday night with residents wanting to weigh in on possible changes to the proposed Police Accountability Board.
- Legislation would allow law enforcment to serve on a proposed Police Accountability Board
- Supporters say it would add more perspectives
- Protesters, like the PABA, say the amendment would defeat the purpose of the board
At times emotional and heated, residents took to the podium one after another to share their thoughts on a new amendment to the proposed Police Accountability Board that would remove the restriction of law enforcement serving on the board.
“There’s a lot of passion around it, and community engagement is a good thing. We like that,” Rochester City Council President Loretta Scott said.
While some were against the amendment and the legislation as a whole.
“Our legal system should be left alone. Sandra Doorley and her people do a wonderful job," Rochester resident Marsha Enwright said. "You’re asking to burn down an entire orchard because you had two bad apples in last year’s crop.”
The Police Accountability Board Alliance once again showed up in force to urge the council to not change any of the previously negotiated language.
“There are some qualifications in there that we have listed as far as board members will be trained on RPD policy, practices and procedures, as well as have training on local, state and federal law,” Pastor Wanda Wilson, with the PABA, said.
But Scott says the amendment would add more perspectives.
“In order to have a deeper level of involvement from all sectors,” Scott said.
However, the PABA fears allowing those with law enforcement experience on the board would defeat the purpose of being independent and civilian-run.
“We worry there is inherent bias on a police officer policing themselves, and we don’t want that to happen on the board," Stanley Martin, also with the PABA, said. "We want a legitimate board that doesn’t go along with what is currently happening, where we see police aren’t held accountable for their conduct.”
Scott says the council expects to vote on all the amendments and the legislation as a whole at next month’s meeting.