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Community Group Hailing City Council’s Proposed Police Accountability Legislation

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Community groups are praising the Rochester City Council for their proposed Police Accountability Board (PAB) legislation released on Monday.

The 17-page proposal comes in the wake of concerns from community groups regarding the Mayor Lovely Warren’s plan she released earlier this month.

“The Police Accountability Board legislation released by Rochester City Council is unreal. It is a stunning victory for the community on the journey toward justice, The Police Accountability Board Alliance said in a statement. “It very closely mirrors what the Alliance has called for and includes our five pillars meaning that a body of civilians will not only have the powers to investigate claims of police misconduct and issue subpoenas, but they will be able to discipline Rochester police officers!

The Police Accountability Board Alliance, a community advocacy group representing tens of local community organizations, has been lobbying for meaningful changes to police accountability and the establishment of a Police Accountability Board.

Last year the PABA outlined five pillars they said must be included in any proposed legislation they would support. The group says City Council and President Loretta deserves credit for creating a legislation that meets the five pillars they established.

“We are looking at a 50 year demand finally being addressed in this city… We appreciate City Council’s courage in challenging and holding the Mayor’s proposed police accountability legislation in committee, as well as their persistence in working with the community to create a PAB inclusive of the five pillars of accountability,” the statement continued.

Under city council’s plan, the PAB would have nine members, each of whom would serve three-year terms. The first board members will serve staggered terms. One member would be appointed by the mayor, four members would be appointed by City Council and four members would be appointed by the Police the Police Accountability Board Alliance.

Board members are required to live in the City of Rochester for at least one year prior to being appointed to the board. Anyone who moves out of the city must resign. City or state government employees, or any immediate family member of an employee, would not be allowed to serve on the board. In addition, any attorney or immediate family member of an attorney who has prosecuted or defended anyone in a police misconduct lawsuit will not be allowed to serve on the board.

A disciplinary matrix would be established with the board, the Chief of the Rochester Police Department and Locust Club President and would include clearly delineated penalty levels with ranges of sanctions which progressively increase based on the gravity of the misconduct and the number of prior sustained complaints.

In order to get community input on the plan City Council is hosting three forums:
• January 23rd @ 5:30-7:00 – Frederick Douglass R-Center – 999 South Avenue
• January 28th @ 5:30-7:00 – Danforth R-Center – 200 West Avenue
• January 31st @ 5:30-7:00 – City Hall – 30 Church Street

“The struggle for justice and equitable policing is not over, but establishment of a powerful PAB is a solid foundation from which to build upon,” the Police Accountability Board Alliance said.

Mayor Warren has not commented on whether she will support the plan, City Council President, Loretta Scott promises a veto-proof vote on the legislation next month.

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