working group Archives - Dignity and Power Now

Civilian Oversight Commissioners Announced! (Where’s Patrisse?)

On November 1st the Los Angeles County Supervisors officially announced the nine people who will be serving on the Civilian Oversight Commission.

Appointed individually by Solis, Ridley-Thomas, Kuehl, Knabe, and Antonovich, in that order:

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Hernan Vera

Attorney
Former President and CEO of Public Counsel
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Xavier Thompson

President of Baptist Ministers’ Conference
Senior Pastor of the Southern Saint Paul Church

Patti Giggans

Executive Director of Peace Over Violence

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JP Harris

Former LA Sheriff’s Lieutenant
Board Member and Former President of ALADS

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Robert C. Bonner

Attorney
Former DEA Administrator

Appointed by the Board of Supervisors from the community applications:

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Sean Kennedy

Executive Director of Center for Juvenile Law & Policy at Loyola Law School
Former Federal Public Defender
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Heather Miller

***C2ESV NOMINEE***
Rabbi at Beth Chayim Chadashim

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Priscilla Ocen

***C2ESV NOMINEE***
Loyola Law School Associate Professor

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Lael Rubin

Former Deputy District Attorney
DPN and the C2ESV implemented and shaped much of the commission through our 2014 report “A Civilian Review Board for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department” and our persistent campaigning and organizing efforts that spanned 3 years. Even though the county’s commission on jail violence rejected the idea of civilian oversight, we took on this fight to end state violence in the county jails and in our neighborhoods. After being invited to speak at a press conference held by the county supervisors, we decided to both claim our victory and pose important criticisms of the process. Check out the footage on Patrisse Cullors’ live Facebook video:

 

Patrisse Cullors, DPN’s founder and co-founder of Black Lives Matter, was instrumental in making the commission. She brought the idea to the table and organized local communities to demand it. And although she was nominated by us and made it to the final round of the interview process, the supervisors said her affiliation to BLM was a conflict of interest. However, they did not think that Robert C. Bonner being former administrator of the DEA and commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection was a conflict of interest. And even more shockingly, they didn’t think that JP Harris being a former sheriff’s department lieutenant for the very department this commission is overseeing was a conflict of interest.

Moving forward there is much to be done to ensure that this commission is effective and we are confident in the presence and fortitude of our C2ESV nominees who have been appointed. Stay tuned for more in depth profiles on all of the commissioners. In the meantime we will continue to be vigilant in pushing for subpoena power and to ensure that each commissioner is holding the LASD accountable and serving the people most affected by sheriff violence.

Through and To the Criminal Judicial System

My personal experience brought me through and to the criminal judicial system. I was found guilty at trial for something that I did not do and was sentenced to one year in county jail. While incarcerated for 6 months in 2011 at the Century Regional Detention Facility (CRDF), I was sexually abused by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies and by medical staff.

When I filed complaints in my first month at CRDF they all fell on deaf ears.

This experience brought me to my role as a Dignity and Power Now campaign lead for support of a Civilian Oversight Commission over the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

As campaign lead I researched for one year civilian oversight commissions and review boards all across the US, Canada, and Europe. My research included budgets, size of police and sheriff’s departments, salaries, staffing, litigation costs, subpoena power, how many commission members, policy, and protocol. I consistently brought forth pertinent information to share with the working group members like what was working for oversight/review boards across the US and what is necessary for future effective civilian oversight commissions.

My research was to sharpen our knowledge of our 5 non-negotiable demands. Subpoena power, no former or current law enforcement, direct the work of the Office of Inspector General, a nine seat panel, and independent counsel. After one year here is what we won: 1. no current law enforcement, 2. nine seat member commission. Now we are in a fight for the Civilian Oversight Commission to obtain subpoena power by changing County Charter.

The purpose of subpoena power is to have access to police personnel files for more transparency and accountability within the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department during investigations regarding police misconduct and excessive use of force. Without subpoena power we simply have an incomplete investigation.

This type of thorough investigation would have helped my personal experience at Century Regional Detention Facility. A civilian oversight commission with subpoena power increases transparency and accountability within the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department during police misconduct investigations.

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My personal experience with advocacy is hands-on education and learning with the American Civil Liberties Union in April 2016. I went to the capital in Sacramento and learned how to lobby senators, assemblymen, and assemblywomen with an ACLU constitutional attorney in support of SB-1286. SB-1286 (or the Police Officer Misconduct Bill) is a bill that would grant subpoena power to all civilian oversight/review boards in the state of California. Although currently waiting to be brought up again in the next bill cycle, SB-1286 is another viable route to make sure Los Angeles County’s Civilian Oversight Commission has the power it needs to be effective.

Stay tuned to our blog or subscribe to our newsletter to stay up-to-date with my work as civilian oversight campaign lead and the fight to change County Charter and pass SB-1286!

Town Hall Roll Call!

When the 50+ community members attending the Compton public forum on civilian oversight were asked if they supported a commission with subpoena power, almost everyone in the room raised their hands. Subpoena power is imperative to a thorough and complete investigation into complaints against the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. It is a tool capable of holding deputies and staff accountable for their actions. Even without issuing a subpoena just having the power to can compel the department to turn over records during an investigation.

Photos by Walt Mancini / Pasadena Star-News

Photos by Walt Mancini / Pasadena Star-News

A similar showing of hands were raised when Vincent Harris – one of the seven working group members crafting a proposal for the commission roles, responsibilities, and powers – asked who believed the commissioners should be selected by the community. These sentiments marked the first of nine public forums taking place throughout LA County. These forums are designed to give the community an opportunity to share their views and concerns, so come share them!

THERE ARE 3 PUBLIC FORUMS REMAINING!
All take place from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Monday April 27
EXPOSITION PARK
700 Exposition Park Drive Los Angeles, 90037

Tuesday April 28
EAST LOS ANGELES PUBLIC LIBRARY
4837 East 3rd Street Los Angeles, 90022

Thursday April 30
WEST HOLLYWOOD LIBRARY
625 North San Vincent Blvd. West Hollywood, 90046

Be sure to watch these videos on our five nonnegotiables and let the working group members know you support an oversight commission with teeth!

St. Anne’s Interns Review Working Group Meeting

The women from St Anne’s have been relentlessly making phone calls and attending working group meetings in support of a civilian review board with power. Here they offer their reviews on what it felt like to participate in the working group process.

“My experience was very nervous today because I chose to speak about my oldest brother and why he is doing time. I feel great that they felt my story was a great story and decided not to keep the vote going on with having the nine-member board. What I also liked is that this time they actually seem to be interested in what we were talking about and just listened and didn’t have any bad feedback. Then what I didn’t like is that it was really frustrating that they were on the same vote for an hour and still weren’t satisfied with what they decided on. I also thought that was very confusing.” – Tonisha Jackson

“I just feel that they didn’t care about the community. The community has to be there because they are the ones watching deaths, shootings, and abuse from the sheriff’s department. They are never going to understand the community because they re not in the community’s shoes. On a civilian review board, some people on the working group didn’t pay attention to the title of the discussion today.” – Ana Angeles

“There was a lot of discussion back and forth over two words, ‘and’ and ‘or.’ I also spoke for the first time and I was nervous. My hands were cold after I spoke. There are a lot of options about the nine-member board. It is hard to pay attention because most of the time they ignore what the people say. The community is what matters. The public should be heard because we are affected, not the people up on the board. Because why? White people almost get away with everything. The black and brown community is the one getting affected. The right thing is to stop sheriff violence. Get your voice heard to make sure the violence is stopped.” – Diana Villeda

“I feel they are not really trying to give us what we want as far as the nine-member board. I feel that they’re not trying to let us be involved as far as having to say to pick four members that have been directly impacted. I feel they want all kinds of law enforcement and lawyers. That they all know and keep everything private and away from the people that care. I feel like they spent our time talking about choosing words and fixing grammar when they need to get straight to the point.” – Shaerice Brooks

“Why did they take up so much time deciding on one little word such as ‘and’ or ‘or’? It shouldn’t take rocket science to figure that out. They also want to get the sheriff department involved, why? It’s not about them and what they want shouldn’t matter. I matter. The people that have witnessed and experienced for themselves matter. It’s so stressful to try and make them understand. If it takes to go up there, to call, and to show up to their doorstep, then so be it. I’m a person who knows what I want. We know what we want. We want change. Because at the end of the day, we matter.” – Jasmine Brandon

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