City Council Votes To Change Citizens Review Board Requirements

CHARLOTTE, NC — The Charlotte City Council voted unanimously Monday to revise the requirements for those applying for positions on the Citizens Review Board.

It’s the board’s main jobs is to decide whether CMPD officers were justified in using excessive force. It’s another layer of investigation beyond CMPD and the District Attorney, and some critics say members need more training now more than ever.

“From what you hear tonight, I think you can draw your own decision. They’re saying the board, they don’t feel, is diverse enough. They don’t feel that it has enough power,” said Robert Dawkins.

Dawkins is the director of Safe Coalition NC. He’s been part of the debate since 2012.
If CMPD decides an officer’s actions were justified, you can appeal that decision to the review board’s 11 members.

The Assistant City Manager suggested Monday that council require the next board to complete the citizens’ police academy and include eight hours of training. Four of those hours would be police ride alongs.

Council members Lawana Mayfiend and Mayor Pro-Tem Vi Lyles want members to undergo implicit bias training.

“I seriously doubt that we’re going to tackle race related issues in the next 20 years,” said Council Member Mayfield. “So, that’s something we should add in as an expectation for anybody that applies.”

The Assistant City Manager suggests the new board not include former and current CMPD and city employees. City Council will determine whether members will serve one, two or three years by drawing numbers out of a hat.

Since the police shooting of Keith Scott led to rioting in Charlotte, demands for review board changes became louder.

“I’m ready to move,” said CMPD Chief Kerr Putney. “I think they have some good options and recommendations. I would just like to see us move forward with them so we can give the community what they’re asking for.”

Scott’s family will go in front of the Citizens Review Board Tuesday to appeal CMPD’s decision not to charge Officer Brentley Vinson for his death. Board training wouldn’t happen until 2018.

Critics have also pushed for the board to have subpoena power and power to discipline. Lawmakers must approve that.