Richmond City Council makes decisions on criminal justice reform

Richmond City Council makes decisions on criminal justice reform
Richmond City Council (Source: NBC12)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Members of the Richmond City Council made some decisions on criminal justice reform items during Monday night’s meeting.

Richmond city council addressed a number of criminal justice reform topics like the Marcus Alert program.

The Marcus alert system would require mental health professionals to be the first responders in a suspected or confirmed mental health crisis. Police will only be called as their “back up” in the event that non-lethal force is needed. The alert is named after 24-year-old Marcus Peters, who was shot and killed by a Richmond police officer in 2018 while experiencing a mental health crisis.

Council unanimously voted to establish a “workgroup” to develop a plan and recommendations for the implementation of the “Marcus Alert” program by Oct. 1, 2020.

Council also voted 7-2 to deny a resolution to request an analysis of the police department’s city appropriations, with the possibility of reappropriating funds toward mental health and social services, plus, substance abuse services.

Council President Cynthia Newbille says she wants a resolution on this to come back by an Aug. 10 meeting.

City council also agreed on moving forward with a civilian review board for police.

On Monday, Council members Kim Gray and Kristen Larson also called on their fellow council members to support an alternate path to police reform.

“We support a practical, accountable and transparent process for our next budget cycle and we are ready and willing to work with the community to make this happen,” both council members said in a statement. “Richmonders have expressed a strong desire to be involved in our budget process and we respect and want to honor their wishes.”

Councilman Gray and Larson says they support the following budget process:

  • A third-party audit of the Richmond City budget to go above and beyond the regular audit process.
  • An amendment to resolution No. 2019-R051 that would include the General Fund budget in the participatory budget process.
  • Accountability measures built into any budget reallocations.

“We support a practical, accountable, and transparent process for our next budget cycle and we are ready and willing to work with the community to make this happen,” both council members said in a release.

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