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Chair, Vice Chair positions not picked during Columbia CPRB’s first meeting since suspension

Watch a replay of the meeting in the player.


Columbia's Citizens Police Review Board held its first regular meeting Wednesday since breaking up last year.

The board meeting for the first time since its suspension in August. The meeting comes after the board held two training sessions.

The first training session took place on Feb. 1. The session focused on the city's form of government, Sunshine Law, conflicts of interest and the board's operations and procedures.

The second training session on Feb. 8 went through the history of the board and the structure of the Columbia Police Department, as well as its policies and reviews.

The board was supposed to elect its officers, discuss the state of its Outreach Subcommittee, approach the analysis of 2022 police complaints and review the 2022 annual draft report and items for next month's agenda.

The board did not elect any officials due to its two vacant positions after former board member Laura Gutierrez Perez's resignation a month ago, and December Harmon's removal following her run for elected office.

During the meeting, a board member said, "It is probably appropriate to just wait until we get the full board it seems to have run pretty well tonight."

Hold Como Accountable, and Race Matters Friends member Chriss Jones asked for new members to be appointed to the position.

"I am requesting that no old members, no previous members, meaning Cheryl (Miller), Steven (Jeffrey) or Rhonda (Carlson) be appointed as the chair or the vice chair," Jones said.

Harmon attended the meeting and said, "I came bearing gifts," as she handed out her proposal to change how to board handles complaints.

Renee Carter, from Hold Como Accountable, said the problems the board has faced in the past will continue until a new model is created.

"This dysfunction will continue," Carter said. "And your jobs are useless. You don't need to be here and nothing has changed."

"I do hear you loud and clear," board member Cheryl Miller said. "About wanting to do a different model change. I think that last year we had this discussion up here, and we, the majority of the board, and the majority of the members of that board agreed that it was time for a change and I stand beside that. It's time for a change."

Board member Rhonda Carlson said she thought the meeting went well after hearing the public frustration.

According to its mission statement, CPRB was created to provide an independent process to review alleged misconduct by Columbia police officers with the goal of "increasing police accountability to the community and community trust in the police."

Some have questioned that accountability recently, with a push for police to reopen the investigation of a man who died after being shot by officers.

History of the board

The nine-person board was created in July 2009. According to its 2022 annual report draft, the board's duties include:

  • Reviews of appeals from the police chief's decision on alleged police misconduct.
  • Host public meetings and education programs for Columbia residents and police officers.
  • Review and make recommendations to the police chief and city manager on police policies, procedures, and training.
  • Prepare and submit to the city council annual reports that analyze citizens' and police complaints. The reports should also make recommendations on police policies, procedures and training. The reports are due by March 1 each year.

The board currently has 7 members.

  • Rhonda Carlson
    • Appointed Feb. 2021, term ends Nov. 1, 2023.
  • Cheryl Miller
    • Appointed May 2022, term ends Nov. 1, 2022, reappointed Oct. 2022, term ends Nov. 2024.
  • Steven Jeffrey
    • Appointed Feb 2022, term ends Nov. 1, 2023.
  • Edward Barnes
    • Appointed Oct. 2022, term ends Nov. 1, 2025.
  • Xavier Scruggs
    • Appointed Oct. 2022, term ends Nov. 1, 2025.
  • Reece Ellis
    • Appointed Oct. 2022, term ends Nov. 1, 2025.
  • Stephanie Coleman
    • Appointed Oct. 2022, term ends Nov. 1, 2023.

The majority of the board's former members resigned after serving for less than a year. December Harmon served for more than a year and Wayne Boykin served for more than two years.

The majority of resignations came after a series of contentious meetings that led to the boards' temporary suspension.

In 2022 the board received three complaints from Columbia residents. One resident chose to withdraw their complaint, while the other two were reviewed and the board offered recommendations.

The board will meet again on April 12th.

Article Topic Follows: Columbia
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Marina Diaz

Marina is a Multimedia Journalist for ABC 17 News, she is originally from Denver, Colorado. She went to Missouri Valley College where she played lacrosse and basketball, and anchored her school’s newscast.


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