Backlash over Community Police Review Board Legislation
SOUTH BEND, Ind.--After weeks of back-and-forth conversations on South Bend’s newly hired Police Community Review Board Director Joshua Reynolds and whether or not he’s the right fit for the new job, yet another issue is coming up, as a proposed bill by the South Bend Common Council, to pass authority over the Community Review Board from the City Clerk, to Mayor James Mueller, on the Community Police Review Office.
“This issue is not about the clerk or the director of the CPRB, but about giving the Mayor's office more Authority over a flawed system,” NACCP President Trina Robinson said.
“That independence is now at risk. And in order to be certain that it remains in place and allows us to operate processes as it was intended, we have to be certain that this bill, this particular bill doesn’t not get passed because it shifts power,” Black Lives Matter South Bend Activist De Bryant said.
The local NAACP, Black Lives Matter and others, are opposing this bill, saying it would not be in the best interest of the public and the black community since the mayor already appoints the Chief of Police and Board of Public Safety.
“There are problems, flaws and things that need to be corrected. We have said that from the beginning,” Bryant said. “So, let’s continue in that theme rather than deciding on what appears to be the spur of the moment to make this dramatic change.”
“We are asking all of our council members to rescind this amendment to vote against it tonight if it comes up, and to give it some more time and have more community input in making this decision on how we move forward,” Community Forum for Economic Justice member Daryl Heller said.
Mayor Mueller sending a letter to Council President Karen White supporting the potential change saying quote: “I thank and commend Councilmembers for stepping up to end this embarrassing episode and get this important initiative back on track…I look forward to signing these amendments into law and working with Councilmembers to fill the Director position quickly.”
City Clerk, Dawn Jones, who currently oversees the new Community Review Office and hired Josh Reynolds in despite seven suspensions on his record during his time with the Indianapolis Police Department, responding to Mueller's statement, saying she’s sad for those working so hard to make positive changes
“The community wants independence and independence is not being granted. Independence is taken away,” South Bend City Clerk Dawn Jones said. “I just want to do my job as City Clerk, you know and I want independence as was established by the state and that’s what I’m doing, that’s what I’m going to continue to do and if it’s to my detriment, nobody can say that I’m not doing my job,” Jones said.
Josh Reynolds himself, is also opposing the bill, and hopes to keep his job after the mayor, the police union and others called for his resignation.
“The mayor has had his chance to run a board, he’s had oversight of the police department and he’s been in office for a year in a half and the community has not seen any change. And that’s why the community I feel has come out to support me so much,” South Bend Community Review Board Director Joshua Reynolds said. “So, I would put it back on the council, like I’ve released my records to you, now what are we going to do to go forward, when we have officers that have problems now, officers serve and still go out in this community. So, I would suggest we subpoena their records.”
The South Bend Common Council will meet to decide on the bill on Monday at 7.
**CORRECTION: Our initial report and post states Black Lives Matter South Bend called for Joshua Reynolds resignation. Black Lives Matter South Bend were not among those who called for his resignation. We apologize for this mistake.