NAACP Task Force seeks meeting with Cropp on CCRB appointments
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NAACP Task Force seeks meeting with Cropp 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)

April 22, 1999

The Honorable Linda W. Cropp, Chairman
Council of the District of Columbia
441 4th Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

Dear Chairman Cropp:

DC Act 12-495, the "Office of Citizen Complaint Review Establishment Act of 1998," is now law. The first step in putting this Act into operation is the appointment of the five members of the Civilian Complaint Review Board (the "Board"). Sec. 5(a) of the Act vests in the Mayor the responsibility for these appointments and requires confirmation by the Council. We hope the appointment of these Board members will be a priority for the Mayor, now that the period for Congressional review has run its course. Given the key role the Council plays in this process, the undersigned organizations wanted to share their views with you about this and a related matter.

As you know, the objective of the new citizen review mechanism is to have a system that is fair and thorough in its investigation and adjudication of complaints of police misconduct and is fully protective of the rights of police officers to due process. 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. To ensure that our newly enacted system meets the high expectations of the citizens, we would like to meet with you to discuss how the Council can help ensure that highly qualified persons are appointed. We believe that the Board will have greater public credibility from the outset if community views are considered in making appointments. It is in this spirit that the undersigned organizations would like to share their views concerning the requisite qualifications for Board membership.

The new Citizen Complaint Review Board can contribute importantly to public trust in our police department, which is central to the success of the MPD's mission of community policing. The undersigned organizations are committed to helping make the new system a complete success, and we expect to work with you and all others who have a responsibility in this matter.

Another matter that is of grave concern to the undersigned organizations is the absence from the budget for FY 2000 of any continued funding of the CCRB. The Congress appropriated $1.2 million for the current year's operation with the understanding that the District of Columbia would ensure funding for future years. Not only would the failure to fund the CCRB in the future be a tremendous disservice to the public safety needs of our citizens, but it would reflect badly on our ability to manage our own affairs without Congressional micro-management. We look forward to discussing this matter with you as well as the appointment of members to the CCRB.

Please advise Mark Thompson, Chair of the NAACP Police Task Force, at 202/217-9288 when you will be able to meet with us.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

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

Jodi Longo, 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

George LaRoche
National Lawyers Guild


cc: Members of the Council
MPD Chief Ramsey


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