SAN DIEGO – With several recent actions, police accountability seems to be a priority in San Diego, but activists and at least one city councilwoman aren’t yet ready to celebrate.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan came out this week in support of the creation of an Independent Police Practices Commission to review community complaints of police misconduct. It comes in the midst of a national outcry following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, an incident which has spurred renewed calls for national and local law enforcement reforms.
But Councilwoman Monica Montgomery, chair of the council’s Committee on Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods, said there’s still plenty of work to be done.
“The history of this charter amendment is a long one; and unfortunately, filled with instances of betrayal and sabotage,” Montgomery said.
On Thursday, City Council President Georgette Gomez called for the action, which places a proposed ballot measure to expand police oversight and creates the independent commission, on the docket for the June 23 council meeting.
Montgomery was joined Thursday by Genevieve Jones-Wright, a community activist who previously ran for district attorney. Jones-Wright said she’s “elated” Gomez has “shown leadership and has shown she expects a unanimous vote.”
“I can tell you right now, we must remain vigilant,” Jones-Wright said.
In a statement to FOX 5, Gomez said we “need to address the reality that many communities have been treated unfairly by police and have nowhere to turn to correct injustice.”
Women Occupy San Diego and San Diegans for Justice have been pushing for an independent citizens commission for a several years. It would allow an independent board to gather evidence and witnesses to investigate allegations against police — a change from the current community review board, which is influenced by the city attorney.
Jones-Wright said she’s encouraged to hear that local leaders are in favor of the change, but she questions whether they plan to make changes to it before it gets put to a vote.
She also questions whether politicians and the acting police chief will fulfill their obligations to enforce it.
“We have been betrayed, sabotaged by the folks who say they stood behind us, and they watered it down; no, they gutted it,” she said.