NAACP Task Force seeks meeting with Williams on CCRB appointments

NAACP Task Force seeks meeting with Williams on CCRB appointments

The Metropolitan Police & Criminal Justice Review Task Force
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
District of Columbia Branch
1000 "U" Street, N.W., Suite #100
Washington, D.C. 20001
(202)319-9358 (voice)
(202)462-6115 (fax)

February 12, 1999

The Honorable Anthony Williams
Mayor of the District of Columbia
Washington, D.C. 20001

Dear Mayor Williams:

Shortly, DC Act 12-495, the "Office of Citizen Complaint Review Restablishment Act of 1998," will become effective. Sec. 5(a) of the Act vests in the Mayor the responsibility of appointing the five members of the Civilian Complaint Review Board (the "Board"), subject to confirmation by the Council. Presumably, the appointment of these Board members will be a priority for you as soon as the period for Congressional review runs its course.

As you know, the objective of the new citizen review mechanism is to have a system that is credible to citizens as fair and thorough in its investigations and adjudication of complaints of police misconduct and is credible to police officers as fully protective of their rights to due process. To ensure that our newly enacted system serves those objectives, the organizations listed below take this opportunity to offer their services to you. Since the Board has overall responsibility for the operation of the civilian complaint process, and most importantly appoints the Executive Director (Sec 6(b)), the ultimate success of the new agency depends on the excellence of the persons appointed to the Board. We believe that the Board will have greater public credibility from the outset if you consider community views in making your appointments. It is in this spirit that the undersigned organizations would like to share their views concerning the requisite qualifications for Board membership.

Sec. 5(a)of the Act requires that Board members must be D.C. residents, that one must be a member of the Metropolitan Police Department, and that the remaining four members not be currently affiliated with any law enforcement agency. We also suggest that all five persons should be persons known for their commitment to the protection of constitutional rights. By this we mean the rights of all those who may be party to a citizen complaint: complaining citizens and responding police officers. Such persons should enjoy reputations of fairness and integrity. While we do not suggest a formula to ensure representation on the Board of the District's diversified communities, we suggest that you seek to obtain the broadest participation possible.

To consider the question of Board membership further, we would be pleased to meet with you or whoever will be staffing this matter for you. Indeed, we would hope that you will feel free to call upon us at any time in the interest of ensuring the success of the citizen review system. It is our strong belief that this system will contribute importantly to public trust in our police department, which is central to the success of the MPD's mission of community policing.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Mary Jane DeFrank, Executive Director
American Civil Liberties Union/National Capital Area

Karen Robinson, Acting Director
Amnesty International/Mid-Atlantic Region

Eric Lotke, Executive Director
D.C. Prisoners' Legal Services Project

Craig Howell, President
Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance

Elizabeth O. Kim, President
Asian Pacific American Bar Association
of Greater Washington, D.C.

Mark Thompson, Chair
Police Task Force, NAACP/DC

Ron Hampton, Executive Director
National Black Police Association

Mario Acosta-Velez, Executive Director
Latino Civil Rights Task Force

Thomas Ruffin, Chair
National Conference of Black Lawyers


cc: MPD Chief Ramsey


pageok