Civilian Oversight of Police Efforts Stalled
A recent poll conducted by the Commercial Appeal, asked,“Do you feel the Memphis Police Department does or does not need stronger citizen oversight?”
60 percent of those surveyed said MPD does need stronger oversight, while only 28 percent said no, and 12 percentweren’t sure.
So, if this issue has already been decided in the minds of the public, what’s the hold up on the City Council’s vote on the Civilian Law Enforcement Review Board (CLERB) all about? We believe it is a simple matter of political cowardice and pandering on the part of Council Candidates that don’t want to have to clarify their position with a vote, out of fear of losing endorsements and campaign contributions.
On Tuesday, August 4th, against the backdrop of the fatalshooting of Officer Sean Bolton, Memphis Police Department Director, Toney Armstrong urged the City Council to delay the vote on the distinctly unrelated issue of police accountability and transparency, “out of respect for the family” of the fallen officer who was to be buried the following Thursday. This came after a 10-minute PowerPoint presentation by Super District 9 Councilman, Kemp Conrad, where he attempted to smear members of the Memphis United Coalition and other supporters of strengthening CLERB as “anti-police” and “law-breakers at heart.”
Following Armstrong’s plea and these baseless claims by Conrad, District 7 Councilman, Berlin “The Wall” Boyd, made a motion for a delay which was approved, pushing the vote back, not for the next Council meeting in two weeks, but until after the election runoffs in November!
Councilpersons who voted for the delay were BerlinBoyd, William Boyd, Joe Brown, Kemp Conrad, Edmund Ford Jr, Reid Hedgepeth and Bill Morrison.
Bring Down the Wall!
The Memphis City Council still has an opportunity to do the right thing, by bringing back the vote to strengthen CLERB at the October 6th Council Meeting, however, it will take a member from the prevailing side of the delay to make that motion.
Since it was Councilman Boyd who made the motion, and since he has continued to defend his position to delay claiming, that it was not wrongly-motivated, we’d like to give him the opportunity to prove it!
Contact Councilman Berlin Boyd and tell him to tear down the wall preventing stronger Civilian Oversight of the Memphis Police Department!
You can also use our simple online tool at memphisunited.org to quickly contact ALL of your Council people at once!