City Council defends selection of PAB member with controversial past

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Three Rochester City Councilmembers addressed the media Thursday about the newly formed Police Accountability Board.

City Councilmembers Loretta Scott, Mitch Gruber, and Willie Lightfoot say when the Council was choosing people to serve on the board, they were looking for the skills and background experience that best suit the job.

The board members themselves are diverse in many ways, but councilmembers say the most important diversity of their selections is in regards to the range of experience. Members of the newly-formed PAB include people with medical backgrounds, religious organizations, and other prominent community groups.

One of the selected PAB members received some attention on social media Thursday. Miquel Powell was convicted of second degree assault in 2002. He served some time in prison, but is now the founder of The Re-Entry and Community Development Center, and a substance abuse therapist.

At Thursday’s press conference, councilmembers said they did background checks on all of the selected members. Lightfoot says although Powell wasn’t chosen because of his criminal history, he added that it’s also not a hindrance.

“Of course we looked into everybody’s situation and we knew that he had a past,” Lightfoot said. “We knew that and that did not hinder him. There’s nothing in the legislation that hinders anyone who has a past and we believe that his credentials, and what he brought fourth, and how he changed his life since, and what he’s added, and the value he brings to the community just superseded anything.”

Full press conference:

News 8 has also reached out to the police union about Powell’s appointment to the board, but they have not immediately returned a request for comment.

The nine people selected to the board are:

  • Dr. Robert Harrisson III
  • Ida Perez
  • Rabbi Drorah Setel
  • Rev. Matthew Nickoloff
  • Jonathon Dollhopf
  • Miquel Powell
  • Shani Wilson
  • Dr. Celia McIntosh
  • Rev. Dr. Rickey B Harvey

City Council President Loretta Scott said the group chosen to serve is diverse.

“The extraordinary talent and thoughtfulness of those we have selected makes me confident that we are appointing a Board that will be dedicated to serving the best interests of our community. The individuals selected understand the importance of this Board’s work and are committed to ensuring that the process is transparent and deliberative,” said Scott.

Back in November, Rochester voters overwhelmingly approved of the PAB referendum.

The nine member board will have power to investigate complaints, subpoena evidence and witnesses, disciplinary power, review police practice and recommend changes.

The nine PAB board members were selected by:

  • Four members nominates by the City Council with one PAB member residing in each of the four Council districts.
  • Four members nominated from names submitted by the Police Accountability Board Alliance (PABA).
  • One member nominated by Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren.

Police Accountability Board member bios:

Dr. Robert W. Harrison, III, M.D. (Council Appointee -East District):

Dr. Harrison has lived in Rochester since March of 1993 and is a physician specializing in Internal Medicine with a sub-specialty in Endocrinology and Metabolism. Raised in Mississippi, he received a B.S. degree from Tougaloo College, a historically black school and an M.D. degree from Northwestern University in 1966. His training in Internal Medicine was from 1966-1972 interrupted by 2 years to serve in the United States Navy. After training as an Endocrinologist for two years at Vanderbilt University, Dr. Harrison occupied academic positions at Vanderbilt University, Columbia University, The University of Arkansas and the University of Rochester where he retired in 2001 and he remains an Emeritus Professor of Medicine. At various times since 2001 he has served as a consultant or worked as a clinician. For the past four years the majority of his time has been spent participating in classes at OSHER, an RIT-run educational program for persons over the age of 50.

In an interview with News 8, Dr. Harrison says the Police Accountability Board will help provide a greater perspective and balance.

“[We’ll be] objective outside observers who can look at things and say ‘hey something is right, or something isn’t right,’” says Dr. Harrison.

Reverend Matthew Martin Nickoloff (Council Appointee – South District):

Rev Matthew Martin Nickoloff is the founding priest of the South Wedge Mission, a Lutheran-Episcopal community of communities committed to cultivating life and the common good. A native of our area, he is passionate about building bridges, inter-religious collaboration, and creating spaces where people can rediscover possibility in the face of division and despair. An avid musician and paddle-boarder, Matthew lives in the South Wedge with his wife Leah, an RCSD teacher, and their three children.

Ida Pérez (Council Northeast Seat):

Ida Pérez is a life-long resident of Rochester New York. She is the mother of two young adults and grandmother of her beloved Anatasha and Jason Miguel. During the past 30 years Ida has worked in the early childhood field and is currently the Director for the Ibero Children and Family Stability Services and a Child Development Associates Instructor at REOC. Ida serves on several advisory committees like, 292Baby, Early Childhood Education Quality Council, REOC Education Council and is a member of the Rochester Early Childhood Assessment Partnership with Children’s Institute. She is also the Chair for the Scrantom Street Block Club and is actively involved in her neighborhood with Project CLEAN and El Camino Committee. She is a past member of the Board of Directors for PathStone and past Chair for their advisory committee for PathStone Head Start in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Ida was a member of the Puerto Rican Festival board for 17 years and served as Board President during 2004-2008. Ida loves spending time with her daughters and family. She enjoys singing, baking and DYI projects. She volunteers on the Ibero Spanish Radio Station WEPL 97.1 and host an informative talk show on Sundays. Ida is proud to be Puerto Rican and she always finds opportunities to share her culture, language, food and music with others.

Rabbi Drorah Setel, J.D. (Council Northwest Seat):

Rabbi Drorah Setel, J.D., is the spiritual leader of Temple Emanu-El, a Reform synagogue in Irondequoit. She is a trained mediator and has developed educational programs as well as led retreats and workshops on dispute resolution. Rabbi Setel lives in the Maplewood neighborhood of Rochester.

In an interview with News 8, Rabbi Setel says our democracy depends on civilian oversight over armed forces. She feels separations are occurring across the US, and this police accountability board, which can punish officers, can heal wounds at home.

“And one division has been between particularly people of color and the police. I hope that the PAB can be a way that we can build a fair and transparent process,” says Setel.

Rev. Dr. Rickey Bernard Harvey (Mayoral Appointee):

Rev. Dr. Rickey Bernard Harvey was born February 14th, 1964, the eighth of nine children. He graduated from South Side High School in Memphis, TN in 1982. He accepted the call to Pastoral Ministry in 1986 and has served as Senior Pastor of 5 Congregations since, including churches in Moscow, TN, Como, MS, Memphis, TN, Tucson, AZ and Mount Olivet Baptist Church in Rochester, NY where he has served for 11 years. Since accepting his call to ministry, Rickey Harvey has preached across the nation in more than 30 states and countless numbers of towns and cities. He has conducted citywide revivals, preached for National Baptist Conventions, American Baptist Conventions, and several other National bodies. Rickey Harvey has worked with Reverend Jesse Jackson, Rev. Samuel Billy Kyles and many other pastors in community efforts through Operation P.U.S.H Rainbow Coalition; as a means to care for communities, be a voice for them during times or racial profiling, discrimination and marginalizing. He has worked with the Rochester City School District as a long-term sub. Rickey Harvey is a graduate of University of Phoenix, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School and holds 2 Master, 2 Bachelor and 1 Doctoral degree, in such fields as Psychology, Business, Organizational Management, Divinity and Ministry. Rickey Harvey is the proud father of Roderick 37, Ricketa 30, Rickey Jr, 28 and Rishard. He is a businessman, owning two Airbnb’s in Rochester city. He is founder and lead Singer of a gospel quartet group here in Rochester, The Dynamic Dixie Wonders!

Jonathan Dollhopf (PABA Seat 1):

Jonathan Dollhopf, a Korean-adoptee raised in Michigan, serves as a Deaf Systems Advocate for Regional Center for Independent Living in downtown Rochester. He also has been involved with deaf organizations such as National Association for the Deaf and Empire State Association for the Deaf. Before moving to Rochester six years ago, Jonathan spent nine months in Korea, studying the origins of his family’s roots. During his stay, he taught American Sign Language to deaf and hearing students alike. With his unique background, Jonathan is very passionate about improving Deaf access to communication and is thrilled to be on the Police Accountability Board for the city of Rochester.

Miquel Powell, BSW (PABA Seat 2):

Miquel Powell, BSW is a well-known substance abuse therapist in Rochester, NY. He holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from The College at Brockport. In 2017, Mr. Powell founded The Reentry & Community Development Center (RCDC-17). Miquel Powell, BSW has been engaged with helping Rochester’s most vulnerable populations since 2009.

Shani Wilson (PABA Seat 3):

Shani Wilson PA-C, is a Board-certified Physician Assistant (NCCPA) with areas of expertise in Suboxone Treatment, LGBTQ+ Health, sexual health, minority health disparities with emphasis on mental health, Trauma Informed Care and vaccine preventable diseases. Community activism and engagement has been especially important to Shani; she is passionate about also giving a voice to the underserved people of Rochester. She also works closely with local LGBTQ+ organizations such as Rochester Black Pride- where she currently serves as one of the coorganizers and the Greater Rochester LGBTQ+ Political Caucus where she serves on the steering and education committees. She is currently serving on the Board of Spiritus Christi Mental Health Center and currently serves as a Primary Care Physician Assistant at Trillium Health.

Dr. Celia McIntosh (PABA Seat 4):

Dr. Celia McIntosh has 16 years of experience in the health sector as an educator, clinician, consultant, and human rights advocate. She received her Doctorate of Nursing Practice and M.S. in Family Nursing and a post masters in Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing from the St. John Fisher College. Her B.S. in Nursing from the College at Brockport and an A.A.S in Nursing from the Monroe Community College. She is an Advanced Stroke Certified Registered Nurse, a Certified Neuroscience Registered Nurse, a Critical Care Registered Nurse, and a Certified Emergency Nurse and is Board Certified as a Family and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Dont Miss

More Don't Miss