Rochester City Council announces public meetings on police accountability board

Local News
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The Rochester City Council has released the dates for meetings that will give the public the chance to weigh in on a new proposal for a police accountability board.

Three meetings will be held: One on the west side, one on the east side and one at City Hall.

The forums will be held on the following dates from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

  • January 23rd – Frederick Douglass R-Center – 999 South Avenue
  • January 28th – Danforth R-Center – 200 West Avenue
  • January 31st – City Hall Atrium – 30 Church Street

Residents can also submit comments via email at council@cityofrochester.gov.

Monday, council leaders submitted a new proposal for a board that builds on legislation from Mayor Lovely Warren. It would create a new police accountability board with the power to punish officers.

Mayor Warren’s proposal gave the board the power to investigate complaints against officers and to subpoena testimony and evidence — but left discipline to the police chief.

The reason: The mayor’s corporation counsel issued an opinion last year that allowing to board to decide on punishment would be against the law. He said giving the power to the board would likely result in a costly lawsuit that the city would likely lose.

However, city council members say an outside opinion from law firm Harris Beach, and advisement from the New York Civil Liberties Union, said the opposite. The NYCLU tells News 8 it found that a change to the city charter, that would move discipline power from the chief, would be enough for the legislation to take effect.

The mayor’s office seems to remain unconvinced, writing in a statement Monday that its proposal ‘will create a Police Accountability Board that is legally permissible under the laws of the State of New York. Other proposals that have been suggested would not withstand legal challenge.”

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