Charlottesville’s Police Civilian Review Board proposes ordinance to go to city council

Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 10:36 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Police oversight in Charlottesville could be on the verge of getting stronger, but there are still some hurdles to clear.

There have been two meetings between a pair of members from the Police Civilian Review Board and a pair of members from the Charlottesville City Council, with the intentions of finalizing details of a potential new ordinance for the board. While they’ve been able to compromise on some things, there is still some distance until the finish line.

On Thursday, the city posted the document and, at a virtual meeting later in the day, the oversight board discussed where it stands.

“We had hoped that we would have had a complete consensus draft in time to post with our agenda,” said PCRB Vice-Chair Bill Mendez. “But it became clear over the last weekend that that wasn’t going to happen in time.”

Mendez said the two parties have been working on the “nitty-gritty details.”

“Like, when can the board investigate an incident or complaint, and what are the procedures of doing so? When can the board review a [Charlottesville Police Department] investigation and what are the procedures?” Mendez said.

As it stands in the draft, the oversight board may initiate investigations of “serious” complaints or incidents when an internal affairs investigation by the CPD is not completed in 60 days or when it has been found to be “incomplete or unsatisfactory”.

Mendez also said there have been encouraging compromises “regarding the ability of the executive director to have access to internal affairs files and to oversee internal affairs investigations and to report to the board without sharing confidential information.”

The plan is for the draft to go in front of the five city councilors at their Dec. 6 meeting. It’s a draft that’s viewed favorably by Jeffrey Fracher, another member of the PCRB.

“It’s going to be a compromised document,” he said. “But I think we’re getting... most of what we want, or at least part of everything we want.”

Mendez said there has been some reluctance to give the board much discretion over when it gets to investigate a complaint or incident.

Below you can find both the full draft of the ordinance, plus a brief breakdown of the changes.

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