Update: City Council President Miguel A. Meléndez announced a special meeting of Rochester’s City Council Monday via video conference to address matters related to the Police Accountability Board.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester Police Accountability Board (PAB) Executive Director Conor Dwyer Reynolds is on administrative leave, PAB officials announced Friday.
A statement from the PAB Friday said:
“As a matter of policy, the City of Rochester – including the Police Accountability Board – does not discuss ongoing employee-related complaints or investigations. It is important that these matters are fully vetted to ensure a fair and complete understanding of all relevant information and to be certain that employee confidentiality and trust are not compromised.”
Details are limited at this time.
In a statement Friday, Rochester Mayor Malik Evans deferred all questions regarding the matter to City Council:
“Rochester’s Police Accountability Board (PAB) was established by City Council and is overseen by a Board of Directors that retains the responsibility for staffing decisions related to its Executive Director.
The Mayor’s Office names one appointment to the PAB’s Board of Directors and remains supportive of the concept.
The administration defers all questions on the operation of the PAB to City Council.”
PAB officials said Friday that the board and staff “remain committed to the agency’s work and will continue to move forward in serving the Rochester community.” They added no further statements will be made at this time.
In another statement, City Council President Miguel Meléndez said:
“Our office determined the responsible course of action was to seek an outside legal firm with expertise in Human Resource matters to investigate these allegations, issue a report detailing their findings, and provide recommendations to the Board. City Council should receive a copy of the investigation’s findings as soon as it is issued. Until that investigation is completed and those findings are issued, the Board must proceed with the utmost caution to ensure all staff involved in this matter are afforded their right to privacy and protection as employees of the City.”
Meléndez also said that he supports the suspension of Dwyer during the investigation, while also offering the opportunity for the Chief of Staff to provide ‘administrative support’ to the Police Accountability Board.
Reynolds, the organization’s inaugural executive director, was selected to lead the organization in October 2020. He is a clinical lecturer in Law, Associate Research Scholar in Law, and Environmental Law Fellow at Yale Law School. Reynolds co-directs Yale’s Environmental Protection Clinic, co-teaches Environmental Law, and is a supervising fellow in the Peter Gruber Rule of Law Clinic. His work focuses on democracy, tort law, and environmental law. He is a native of Rochester, New York.
Last year, the City Council approved Rochester’s budget which included $5 million to fully fund the PAB, which would allow the organization to hire more full-time staffers.
PAB officials said in early February, with the announcement of five new full-time hires, that the organization was closer to its goal of launching investigations in spring 2022.
In 2019, city voters overwhelmingly approved of the creation of the PAB, but court rulings since its founding have stripped the organization of disciplinary power.
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.