Common Councilor Steve Thompson will Introduce Legislation to Keep Citizen Review Board Findings Out of Court

There will be a Public Safety Committee meeting held on, Wednesday, November 13th, 2019 at 12:45 p.m., in the Common Council Chambers, third floor, City Hall.

Syracuse City Hall

The purpose of this meeting is to discuss an amendment to Local Law No. 11 of 1993, as amended by Local Law No. 1 of 2012, which established the Citizens Review Board (CRB) for the City of Syracuse.

This comes after a number of incidents involving the Syracuse Police Department, most notably the Alonzo Grant case where the city of Syracuse was compelled by a jury to pay 1.5 million dollars to the victim. The city is appealing this case, supporters of the CRB are not in favor of this change in the law.

Activists and civil rights groups have called for people to attend this public meeting to show their objection to this change in the law which will weaken the impact of a CRB investigation. Please review text of the legislation below to become familiar with the proposed legislation.

AMENDMENT TO LOCAL LAW #11- 1993 (last amended by Local Law #1-2012) * * * Section (to be determined). 
Use of Citizen Review Board Reports, Determinations, Decisions and Recommendations 

Consistent with the Citizen Review Board’s purpose to establish an open citizen-controlled process for reviewing grievances involving members of the Syracuse Police Department, to provide a non-exclusive alternative to civil litigation, and to provide an external source for recommendations concerning police policies, procedures, practices, or other systematic concerns:

Any reports, determinations, decisions, opinions or recommendations made or given by the Citizen Review Board will be considered advisory, evaluative, and predecisional and will be used solely by the City administration and Police Department command as part of their internal deliberative process, the internal review and examination of the conduct of individual City employees, and the ongoing internal review and evaluation of City policies or practices.

In making advisory reports, determinations, decisions, opinions or recommendations, the Citizen Review Board, as a duly-constituted civilian advisory body, shall not have the authority to issue binding decrees, implement personnel actions, make findings of civil or constitutional culpability, or award damages.

In order to foster the free and open communication between the Citizen Review Board and the Syracuse Police Department regarding the matters before the Board and otherwise further the purpose of this Law, any reports, determinations, decisions, opinions or recommendations made or given by the Citizen Review Board shall not be admissible in any subsequent civil or criminal proceeding, nor shall they be considered binding or conclusive. This Section shall be applied retroactively.