City Council president proposes new police oversight measures

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San Diego City Council President Georgette Gomez announced Thursday she will place a proposed ballot measure to expand police oversight and create an Independent Police Practices Commission on the docket for the June 23 council meeting.

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – San Diego City Council President Georgette Gomez announced Thursday she will place a proposed ballot measure to expand police oversight and create an Independent Police Practices Commission on the docket for the June 23 council meeting.

“The murder of George Floyd has exposed a crumbling faith in government and mistrust of police that must be addressed immediately,” Gomez said. “It’s critical that we build trust between communities and law enforcement and restore the public’s faith in police oversight. We need to address the reality that many communities have been treated unfairly by police and have nowhere to turn to correct injustice.”

During a marathon meeting Tuesday that lasted about 10 hours, dozens of people phoned in during the public comment period and called for defunding the police and voicing support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

“I want the public to know that we are advancing the Independent Police Practices Commission measure without delay, and my hope is to bring together everyone on the council — Democrat, Republican, Independent — for a unanimous vote,” Gomez said. “The time is now to create real dignity and respect for all our communities, but specifically our black and brown communities.”

Gomez said she has supported the measure since a version of it was proposed in 2017.

The measure would create an independent commission with investigators, staff and subpoena power — modeled after the city’s Ethics Commission — to review community complaints of police misconduct and recommend reforms to the City Council and the San Diego Police Department.

Councilwoman Monica Montgomery, who chairs the council’s Committee on Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods, has been a driving force behind the measure since its introduction.

“From the beginning of my administration, my office has worked honestly and diligently to advocate for police reform, through transparency and accountability measures,” she said. “As true transparency and accountability champions, we have been steadfast in changing the conversation around police reform through open communication with the community, the San Diego Police Officers Association and the mayor’s office.”

Montgomery thanked the groups which collaborated on the ballot measure, including Women Occupy San Diego, the Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association and San Diegans for Justice.

On Monday, Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Police Chief David Nisleit both announced their support for the police-reform ballot measure and joined Gomez and Montgomery to announce that the SDPD would ban the use of the carotid restraint, a compliance technique that renders uncooperative detainees unconscious but can prove deadly if performed improperly.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and about a dozen other area law enforcement agencies have since announced that they will do the same.

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