UPDATE: On April 7th, City Council postponed any action on our CLERB ordinance until April 21st! What will likely (or hopefully) happen is, our ordinance will be discussed once more, pass through committee, and according to Flinn go before the full council the same day for first reading, which keeps us on track with our ideal timeline.
Remember, to pass an ordinance or an amendment to a current ordinance, it takes three readings before the full council and seven votes of support. Which means if we pass through committee and go downstairs for first reading on April 21st, the second reading will be on Tues. May 5th, and (unless it gets delayed for some reason), our final reading will be May 19th, which is when we’ll really need a groundswell of community support. So, there is basically a six week process we’re navigating. In the meantime, we’ll be reaching out to organizations for letters of support and still ask our supporters to call and/or email their City Council representatives to encourage them to support the CLERB ordinance.
Memphis United has been working for the better part of two years to reestablish Memphis’ Civilian Law Enforcement Review Board with the powers necessary to effectively hold law enforcement accountable to civilians when they file a complaint against an officer. The board was created by ordinance of the Council in 1994 after the controversial death at the hands of the Memphis Police Department, but it didn’t have subpoena power or the ability to compel the participation of officers in an investigation. In 2008, Council Woman Fullilove called for an audit of MPD’s complaint process after video surfaced showing the savage beating of Duanna Johnson in police custody. The audit came back in 2009 and a resolution was passed to form an ad-hoc committee to make recommendations to the Council on how to improve the Review Board. That committee never met. After Memphis United discovered that the CLERB had been quietly disbanded around 2011 by the Wharton Administration, new appointments to the board were quickly made, and in May of 2014, The Council unanimously adopted Memphis United’s Resolution, empowering us to do the work the committee never did in 2009, collecting public input and best practices to inform an amended ordinance to empower the CLERB.
Read on to find out how YOU can help support this campaign!
On Tuesday, April 7th, Memphis United’s amended ordinance for a stronger Civilian Law Enforcement Review Board will go before the Personnel Committee of City Council at 8:30 AM. We are asking that everyone call the members of this committee and ask them to support stronger civilian oversight of law enforcement.
- For Chairman Flinn & Vice Chairman Strickland, call Judy Milam at (901) 636-6799.
- For Councilmen Collins, Berlin Boyd & Hedgepeth, call Dynisha Clark at (901)636-6775.
- For Councilwoman, Wanda Halbert, call Rebecca Garcia at (901)636-6795.
- You can also email your Council People, you’ll find their contact info here: http://www.memphistn.gov/
At 2:30PM (April 7), prior to the full council meeting, Memphis United is calling on the community to rally in front of City Hall to call for stronger oversight and accountability of police to the communities they are sworn to serve and protect.
We want a stronger Civilian Law Enforcement Review Board to weed out bad apples and make sure our barrel isn’t made to rot from the inside out. We also plan on pulling cards to speak during the public comment section (for two minutes a piece) to spotlight the 20 officers arrested of heinous crimes in just the past year as an example of why we need stronger tools for civilian oversight of those we entrust with the greatest responsibility.