This article in Ravishly by Ijeoma Oluo caught my eye, because really, just feeling bad about racist policing is not doing anything about it. Even writing distressed-sounding social media posts about it isn't quite up to the bar. So what, what can we do? I read the article and...
Reading the process online, I was looking for the gaps that Oluo said I might find, and I am not sure if I found one. A bit of an inconsistency perhaps? It certainly could be completely innocent. Here is the passage I tripped on:
- The Police Chief reviews every complaint after the investigation is completed and a report is written.
- If your complaint includes excessive force or charges an officer with a crime, it will also be reviewed by a Civilian Review Board (CRB). The Board includes three citizens who are not members of the Police Department.
- The CRB will review your complaint, statements from all witnesses and reports from the investigation. The CRB may ask for additional information before making its recommendations to the Police Chief. The CRB may also choose to interview witnesses.
- The results of investigations where there are no charges that the police officer used excessive force or committed a crime are also reviewed by the Police Chief.
- The Police Chief reviews investigations and makes the final decision on all complaints.
On the Memorial Day holiday, no less, I got this response from Lieutenant Mark Simmons, the RPD Commanding Officer of the Professional Standards Section:
Thank you for taking the time to reach out to the Professional Standards Section regarding your inquiry about the complaint review process. In sum and substance, the Chief of Police reviews every complaint after the investigation is completed and a report is written, as indicated in the first bullet point (The Police Chief reviews every complaint after the investigation is completed and a report is written).
So the CRB can add investigative horsepower to a given case, but it seems that their result is purely advisory -- ultimately a finding will be the decision of the Chief.