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Public suggests new policy to Columbia police review board


Several local residents expressed a need for change in the law enforcement system at a Citizens Police Review Board meeting in City Hall on Wednesday.

The Citizens Police Review Board was created to provide an independent review of Columbia's police,

Darryl Smith, a member on the board said change will take time.

"I don't I can't say that it'll be a pivotal change. I think it'll be a foundational change, I think it's something to build upon but as far as you know when I think pivotal I think of something big," Smith said. "This is not going to be a big quick process."

According to the City of Columbia, the Citizens Police Review Board focuses on an independent review of police misconduct, increasing police accountability and building community trust in the police. The CPRB reviews appeals to the police chief's decisions on alleged police misconduct and hosts public meetings and educational programs for Columbia residents and police officers. The CPRB also reviews and makes recommendations on police policies, procedures and training, and prepares and submits annual reports that analyze citizen and police complaints to the Columbia City Council.

Markiez smith, a columbia resident who claims to have organized a protest on June 7 in Columbia, said with all the protests going on, he thinks the public voices are being heard.

"We've come together within the community on this Facebook page with things that we want to address and so within the next couple of weeks we do have sit downs with law enforcement where we will be going over like training policies and stuff like that," Smith said.

The meeting comes amid protests across the world against police brutality.

CPD has a policy called "duty to intervene," which department leaders say could prevent a situation similar to George Floyd's death, during which three other officers stood by and watched former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's actions.

Chad McLaurin, a Columbia resident, says the system needs to be shaken up.

"Number one, I think this this was a great awakening moment for a lot of, especially young kids," McLaurin said. "Hopefully these kids are taking this to heart, getting involved on a regular basis, and realizing that you know - good luck trying to tear down the entire system, but we can make a lot of leeway by working within the system for effective change and holding people accountable."

Floyd died more than two weeks ago while Chauvin knelt on his neck. Video of his death has led to protests across the world, including in Columbia.

The CPD policy requires an officer who sees another one using force "beyond that which is objectively reasonable under the circumstances" to intercede "when in a position to do so."

"An officer who observes another employee use force that exceeds the degree of force permitted by law should promptly report these observations to a supervisor," the policy says.

A records request shows that CPD has not investigated any officers for a possible violation of this policy since 2014.

The board voted on a new mission statement which says, "We work to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community to help increase trust and accountability."

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Zach Boetto

Zach Boetto anchors the weekend morning and weekday 9 a.m. & noon newscasts for ABC 17. You can find up-to-the-minute information on Zach’s social media, @ABC17Zach on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


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