Phoenix City Council Approves Community Review Board For Police Oversight

By Matthew Casey
Published: Wednesday, February 26, 2020 - 9:07am
Updated: Wednesday, February 26, 2020 - 5:18pm

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Kate Gallego
Matthew Casey/KJZZ
Kate Gallego

Activists backing a more robust plan for public oversight of police celebrated a major win at the Phoenix City Council after the groups helped persuade Mayor Kate Gallego to give up on her own citizen-review proposal.

Cheers filled the council chambers when Gallego had tallied a 5-4 vote to create a community review board, which is supposed to eventually be able to recommend investigations of complaints against officers.

“We are overall excited that this is moving forward. We think that this is a step in the right direction. We know that this is not going to stop police violence,” said Viridiana Hernandez with the group Poder in Action.

Britt London
Matthew Casey/KJZZ
Britt London, president of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association.

Hernandez joined dozens of speakers over a roughly 4-hour meeting on Tuesday to demand that council members support a community review board. They criticized a different oversight proposal from Gallego’s office to create a civilian ombudsman. In the end, the mayor relented and backed a community review board.

“We’ll have to see. We’ll get into the minutiae of it and see how the details actually are because, as they said, there is just a framework at this point,” said Britt London president of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association. 

London’s union did not back either proposal. But he said other big cities have public oversight of police, and it was just a matter of time until something similar happened in Phoenix.

Viridiana Hernandez
Matthew Casey/KJZZ
Viridiana Hernandez of the group Poder in Action.

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