A member of a group in charge of overseeing the San Diego Police Department accused other members of using intimidation in reviews of police conduct.
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"We have to acknowledge these conditions exits and we have to change them," said Citizens' Review Board member Lucy Pearson.
Pearson shocked everyone at a recent meeting when she complained publicly about the bullying and the San Diego City Attorney's legal advisor not being impartial.
"That entire time she has never given a legal opinion that has come down on the side of the citizens," said Pearson.
Others at the meeting were critical as well.
"I am concerned the board receives tainted information," said Shawn Huston.
Huston, who is an attorney, said at the meeting he is convinced Internal Affairs' reports to the board are weighted in favor of police officers and the practice is kept secret.
"They can also purposefully hold back information from this board that you will never see," said Huston.
The 10News I-Team's previous stories on the Citizens Review Board were followed by a critical grand jury report that said the board is failing in its mission as the public's watchdog of the San Diego Police Department.
"I think the review board is really a joke," said John Warren, publisher and editor of Voice and Viewpoint, which provides an African-American perspective in San Diego. "There is no excuse for it."
Warren was hopeful the I-Team's stories would bring change, but is discouraged that it remains business as usual.
"I think this is a very pivotal time. I'm concerned the public isn't responding in the manner it should be," said Warren.
The I-Team previously reported on concerns over the lack of minorities on the board and concerns about police officers from SDPD Internal Affairs sitting in on private board meetings during confidential discussions on police behavior.
"If I even mentioned some consideration for the public, I got a chorus of objections," said Myra Harada, a board member from 2006 to 2010.
There are also accusations that board members who question any of this are bullied.
"This is not the awful board Channel 10 described," said board member Barbara Penn.
At a recent board meeting in Tierrasanta, the I-Team was criticized for its reporting.
"It's easy to cast stones," said board member Anthony Wagner..
The grand jury was also criticized for finding the board susceptible to influence by police internal affairs.
"I think it is unfair to level unsubstantiated claims against Internal Affairs," said Wagner.
Harada said, "I read the grand jury report and what they found was true."
The current board members often choose board member candidates, and the I-Team learned candidates' training includes spending time with police officers.
Critics said it has created a "pro-cop" board, but most board members said Internal Affairs holds no special sway.
"Internal Affairs is at every meeting, both open and closed meetings," said outgoing board president Dan Frazee.
"Do they influence those meetings in any way?" asked I-Team reporter Mitch Blacher.
"Not that I've seen," said Frazee.
"Have you ever felt Internal Affairs has colored an investigation to get an outcome it wants from you?" asked Blacher.
"I have never seen a blatant attempt like that," Frazee replied.
SDPD Deputy Chief David Ramirez also thinks the I-Team and the grand jury got it wrong.
"I don't agree with some of the comments, specifically about Internal Affairs bullying CRB members. I don't believe that to be true," said Ramirez.
During the meeting, the I-Team was given a copy of an anonymous survey given to the board. It was proof, the I-Team was told, that Internal Affairs had no undue influence.
"I have never been intimidated," said Penn.
"We owe a good amount of respect to the level of hard work that they do," said Wagner.
Critics said it's not a surprise that a pro-police review board would respond that way.
"It's not carrying out what its mission is supposed to be," said Harada.
"I think it's important to trust the board and the police department," said Ramirez.
Mayor Jerry Sanders' office said it is near "decision time" for the Citizens' Review Board.
It is Sanders' responsibility to respond to the grand jury's list of concerns.
Meanwhile, the city attorney's representative on the board has been replaced.
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