Broward County

Broward Commissioners Discuss Independent Civilian Panel for County

Commissioners discussed the proposed group of 23 voting members

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Broward County commissioners discussed in a meeting Tuesday who should be at the table of an independent board that would review criminal justice issues, including police misconduct.

The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked outrage and Black Lives Matter protests across the nation. In response, Mayor Dale Holness is pushing for the creation of a Broward County independent police and criminal justice review board.

"The people on the street are crying for justice, for fairness, for transparency," Holness said.

In the meeting, commissioners discussed the proposed group of 23 voting members who would gather data on police use of force or misconduct and other criminal justice issues — and then make recommendations such as policy changes.

“This is long overdue," said Rep. Frederica Wilson. "The unconscionable murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and so many others have lead the residents of Broward County to join the nation in exercising their right to protest, and they are demanding change."

A representative from BSO also expressed their support and residents also weighed in.

“No occupation is above accountability, and if local police truly do serve all the members of the community, then they should be held accountable by that community," one county resident said over the phone at the meeting.

Commissioners voted on amendments to include more diverse members, such as mental health professionals, the LGBTQ community and more.

“It's gonna be a very inclusive body that includes the NAACP, the ACLU and the state attorney and public defender, the sheriff's office and the chiefs of police," Holness said.

But there are some limitations. Holness said the CIP would be able to review incidents to see what happened but can't penalize officers for their wrongdoings.

“The state has our hands tied in a great way because we cannot conduct current investigation as to an issue that is at hand," he said.

The panel will be up for a final vote on Oct. 20, when another virtual public hearing will take place.

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