Plan to create new SDPD oversight board fails

Posted at 5:57 PM, Jul 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-31 21:14:13-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Local activists are accusing the city of San Diego of slow-playing their proposal to create an independent commission on police practices - to the point that it died.

The measure would have created a board with subpoena power. And the ability to launch its own investigations.

The board, which would have been called the Independent Commission Police Practices, would have addressed several of the concerns raised by the County Grand Jury about the city's Community Review Board.

Those concerns include a lack of subpoena power, access to only some complaints, and an appearance some find too closely linked to the San Diego Police Department. 

Women Occupy San Diego's proposed an independent board that would have subpoena power.

"We would have independent investigators who would talk to the witnesses, who would look at all the documents, who would do the same things that (Internal Affairs) does," said Kate Yavenditti, a local attorney and one of the group's members.

Women Occupy San Diego filed the measure in March, but earlier this month the City Attorney's said the San Diego Police Officers Association and the Municipal Employees Association needed to be consulted before it could go to the November ballot, due to a law called the Meyers Milias Brown Act.

A city attorney memo said the the organizations needed to be conferred with because the measure could impact their working conditions.

Yavenditti said she learned of this at a rules committee meeting on July 11, and the City Council didn't docket the issue until Monday, just less than two weeks before the Registrar of Voters deadline for the November ballot.

It was too close, so the council voted not to move it forward.

"At this point, there's nothing we can do about it except talk about what we believe was a deliberate delay," Yavenditti said. 

A city spokeswoman said this measure was treated the same as all the others that were vying for the November ballot. 

Jack Schaeffer, president of the San Diego Police Officers Association, said he stood by the current Community Review Board. He noted it has trained experts doing investigations, they pick apart all the evidence and come to appropriate conclusions.

"It's almost like a big audit of what we’ve done as investigators," he said. "If you look nationwide, a few different ways to do police oversight and not one of them is really any better the other."

Yavenditti said her group is now eyeing the proposal for the 2020 ballot.