Police Civilian Review Board Meets to Figure out How it'll Operate
The Charlottesville board tasked with policing the police held its second-ever meeting on Thursday, August 16.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Charlottesville board tasked with policing the police held its second-ever meeting on Thursday, August 16.
This comes just days after many around the city raised concerns about over-policing over the weekend of August 11 and 12.
During a brief public comment period, attorney Jeff Fogel did raise concerns about over-policing last weekend, but the biggest take away from Thursday night’s meeting is that it’s just too soon to tell how this board will operate and ultimately what it will be able to accomplish.
“We have to find out exactly what sort of power that council will give us,” Don Gathers, a member of the board, said.
After the Charlottesville Police Civilian Review Board's meeting, there are still more questions than answers about how the board will operate.
“Trying to figure our way and find our way and see exactly what the city will allow us to do,” Gathers said.
City attorney Lisa Robertson taught board members about the Freedom of Information Act and how to remain compliant.
She also briefed the board on drafting bylaws and a mission statement.
“If they do their job - which I believe they will - my concern is that the City Council won’t support them, the City Council has not been interested in doing any kind of oversight over the police about anything,” Fogel said.
Board members raised concerns about policing the police when both entities are represented by the city's attorneys.
The board discussed plans to email City Council with a request for funding for outside legal counsel.
“To be able to be transparent, to be able to serve a void that's been sitting here in the community, to give a voice to those who feel like they’re voiceless, and just to be able to hold some accountability,” Gathers said.
In that email, the board also plans to request that City Council appoint Jeff Fogel as the board’s ninth member.
Fogel voiced harsh criticisms at City Council’s listening session on Tuesday and at Thursday's meeting about how police handled last weekend.
“This reflects a certain mindset of law enforcement here, and we need to open up that mindset,” Fogel said. “Why is it that the police department can search people on the main streets of our city, why did they think that it was necessary to have the massive presence here and massive restrictions here but they don’t want to tell us?”
Going forward, the Police Civilian Review Board plans to meet on the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month.
The board's next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, August 28.