Changes to Civilian Investigative Panel Ordinance

584:

A couple weeks ago at the Village of Center Grove Homeowner’s Association meeting, members of the Civilian Investigative Panel came to discuss the possibility of changes to the ordinance that governs their panel. They are one of the most independent panels in the City of Miami and are charged with investigating and making recommendations of solutions when police misconduct or brutality are alleged.

From their website:

The powers and duties of the panel are:

  • To conduct investigations, inquiries and evidentiary hearings into allegations of police misconduct.
  • To make factual determinations, facilitate resolutions and propose recommendations to the City Manager and Chief of Police.
  • To review and make recommendations regarding the Miami Police Department’s existing policies and procedures, including training, recruitment and discipline and provide input to the Chief of Police prior to implementation of new or revised policies and procedures.
  • To request issuance of subpoenas for the purpose of obtaining evidence from witnesses, production of documents etc., after consultation with the State Attorney and CIP Independent Counsel.
  • To issue reports to the Mayor, City Commission, City Attorney, City Manager, Chief of Police and the public.

They were created by us, the voters, several years ago in a ballot initiative. Currently there are 13 members who are taken from the community at large (through advertising, etc.) and then nominated by the panel and confirmed by the City Commission. The reason they were at the meeting I attended (and then the following night at the Coconut Grove Village Council meeting giving a similar presentation) was due to the fact that some City officials would like to see the ordinance changed in order to appoint its members only by the Mayor, City Commissioners and Chief of Police. The damage this would do to this panel’s independence is substantial.

From my standpoint, we have a considerable amount of crime in the West Grove. I’m not one to quickly pass judgment on the motivations of criminals, given the various socioeconomic disparities that factor in to most crime. That being said, police officers must follow specific procedures and policies when apprehending and arresting alleged criminals that does not cause excessive harm or injury. On top of that, many people who have been victims of police misconduct end up not being convicted of the crime they were initially arrested for. It is up to us as citizens to judge what misconduct is, and this panel MUST retain its independence in order to do so. YOU could end up being the victim, so these changes to the panel could impact YOU.

This is nothing against the City of Miami Police Department. I have interacted with quite a few police officers here in the Grove and there are many great cops patrolling the streets here. We have probably the best and most personable Neighborhood Resource Officers in the entire city, who generally care about the well-being of our residents. The purpose of this panel is to address the few ‘bad apples’ who overstep the limitations of the power that we as citizens grant them.

Please click here to take a quick look over the ordinance changes.

Come out on June 11th to City Hall at around 9am to show your support for this panel and to ensure these changes are not made.

Thank you,

-Stephen Murray

****UPDATE****

This was received yesterday afternoon by email from Carol Abia:

“In a meeting today regarding the June 11th City Commission meeting, Commissioner Spence-Jones’ Legislative Policy Advisor notified the City Administration that Agenda Item FR 1, relating to the Civilian Investigative Panel and proposing an amendment affecting the appointment of members to the Panel will be deferred. The item will be placed on the July 9th Commission Agenda. We are attempting to secure additional information as to reason(s) for the request to defer the item.”

****/UPDATE****

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  • Disclaimer

    The contents of this blog do not reflect the opinions of the Coconut Grove Village Council, the Democratic National Committee, the Florida Democratic Party, the Miami-Dade Democratic Party, or any elected official or organization referenced herein.

    All opinions are exclusively those of Stephen Murray.

    All content (c) 2010 Stephen Murray

  • Credit

    Blog Layout and Design: Cassie Oswald (http://www.cassieoswald.com)

    Banner Photo Credit: Lindsay Brown for The Miami Hurricane

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