Thursday, June 04, 2020

Notes: Citizens Review Board on Police Practices Emergency Meeting (6.4.2020)

North Park at Night, taken12.18.2019
It's a little funny watching San Diego committee and board meetings. Obviously current circumstances brought new interest into these groups, but the fact that they're watchable on YouTube is making people finally step up and pay attention. It was almost funny hearing the comments from the public read out loud because you could feel the boardmembers "WHAT DO YOU THINK WE'VE BEEN WORKING ON FOR ALL THESE YEARS???" So all that to say that the board had already been considering a lot of the policies that people and organizations were demanding. It was a pretty interesting meeting, but if you don't wanna sit through a 90 minute video, I took notes. Meanwhile the marchers must've reached North Park because I can hear the police helicopter circling nearby. 
Notes after the jump. 

  • Citizens Review Board or Police Practices Emergency Meeting:
  • Full agenda and policy consideration
    • Chair of Board disappointed that there's no deescalation mentioned in the new submitted policy
    • SDPD wants to include the necessity of subject to cooperate in order for there to be de-escalation
    • Policy should REQUIRE deescalation
    • New policy does include 'duty to intervene' (section 3)
  • Revised language proposed to require deescalation, and must be in policy in order to be able to evaluate officer's lack of doing so and subject to discipline (page 39/46 of agenda pdf). This was voted on and passed unanimously to be submitted to SDPD and City Council to be included in new policy moving forward.

    Policy: When safe under the totality of the situation circumstances and time and circumstances permit, officers shall be required to use de-escalation techniques and tactics in order to reduce any threat or gain compliance to lawful commands without the use of force or with the lowest level of force possible.

    Definition: De-escalation techniques and tactics are actions taken by officers that are designed to eliminate the use of force in order to resolve any event or situation. De-escalation techniques include but are not limited to: talking to a person using a tone of voice and language that is not aggressive or confrontational; creating space or placing barriers between the officer member and the person; waiting the person out when circumstances permit; permitting a person to move about when safe; permitting a person to use the opportunity to make statements or ask questions; slowing down the pace of an incident; tactical repositioning and requesting additional resources. The guiding principles for de-escalation are patience, flexibility, and the desire to resolve each situation peacefully.
  • Also should add Baltimore policy (pg 23/46 of pdf)
    • When time and circumstances reasonably permit, members shall consider whether a subject’s lack of compliance is a deliberate attempt to resist or an inability to comply based on factors including, but not limited to:
      • Medical conditions,
      • Behavior health disability,
      • Developmental disability,
      • Physical limitation,
      • Language barrier,
      • Drug interaction,
      • Age and/or
      • Behavioral health crisis
  • SDPD sees de-escalation as a policy to gain compliance 
  • SDPD is perceived as an escalation force. Policies shouldn't make qualifications like "when safe" because it always defers to officer's perception of safety when deescalation can't be used, it should be incumbent upon officers to explain why it wasn't possible
  • Deescalation must be written into policy because the absence leaves no accountability for officers
  • Substantive change in the culture of SDPD cannot be overstated 
  • CRB has requested policy as it relates to protests, riots, SWAT, etc. Has yet to receive from SDPD. 
    • Need to evaluate policy when it is released
    • CRB should rewrite policy if current policy is inadequate
    • SDPD does not have a clear policy about use of force as it pertains to protests
    • SDPD has Procedures for Handing Incidents Involving Expressive Activity and First Amendment Rights but it doesn't adequately cover protests
    • Consider banning rubber bullets (chair of policy committee) 
    • Remote case review cannot continue to be pushed back. Cases are not getting reviewed because of Covid-19 and current protests
    • Police met protests with aggression and violence begets violence
  • Motion/passed to refer to policy committee regarding large protests to address:
    • When to declare unlawful assembly
    • The level of force used in such events
    • Evaluate the use of military-style force and ammunition 
    • Require notice before use of force
    • Arranging medical assistance
    • Response to blocking roads and freeways
  • CAB would like to get a copy of policy reviews and updates before they move to Council and SDPD

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