Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Do-Nothing Citizen Review Panels

Have you noticed Citizen Review Boards currently in operation all doing the same old things? They “look into”, they “investigate”, they “consider and discuss”, and if they get really brave, they “recommend”. Then, the police chief and /or Internal Affairs, totally ignores everything they say. Next day it is business as usual for the department and the cops who beat, shoot and electrocute citizens. What good is this? Are these review boards really doing what the citizens they serve need, or are they just an unwitting arm of the police department? Again and again, they roll over for the PD or their union.

This habit will only starve citizens to death, both of rights and the tax money to support the review board. (See previous posts about needing a tax-free CRB). What threats do police departments use to prevent real strength from developing in a citizen-based authority?

It is the paycheck. Too many board members get paid for their work on the panel. They begin to rely on that check for their private lives, the very private life that is being jeopardized by errant cops every day.

Cops work the game on the coming and the going. “Tax money is short, we can’t afford to pay the review board”, and “If you mess with the PD, the union will lobby to cut off your funding”. There is only one way to break free from the circus cops have created, and it is an all-volunteer panel, with no ties to anybody but the citizenry they serve.

With Patrick Hunter of San Diego being cut out of the city budget recently and Paul Kennedy of Canada

meeting the same fate, money is proving to be the most effective weapon police have against the citizen review board. This, while police departments nationwide are settling out of court for their own misbehavior costing huge sums of our tax money.

We must begin police control that cannot be manipulated by availability of funds. We must mobilize our citizens to take charge of an ever-growing problem of police stealing our money, our physical well-being and our freedom.

Get to know your local government as well as incoming politicians who are eyeing the next election, and make it clear that citizen authority over the local police department is the only way to get cops and citizens on the same page, and the only way for a candidate to get a vote. There is no other way, because cops won’t listen to us. Speaking up to a cop is “disorderly conduct” or “interfering with police”, two of their most used but bogus charges. Name another job where anyone could get paid for arrogance like that. Remember, we created cops, and we pay them. They need to start acting like they understand that fact.

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