A task force examining the makeup and powers of a board that reviews police discipline is scheduled to make recommendations to a City Council committee Monday.
But a report by the task force released last week has already frustrated advocates for change.
The Citizens Review Board has been under scrutiny since early this year, after an Observer investigation in February found the board is among the weakest in the nation.
But the fatal shooting of an unarmed man by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer this month brought new attention to the board and its limitations.
On Friday, Mayor Patsy Kinsey released the task forces report. Advocates of reform said it stopped short of recommending needed change.
Its hard for me to believe this is it, said Matt Newton, a Charlotte defense attorney and one of the leaders of the advocacy group CRB Reform Now.
He told the Observer on Sunday that he hopes the task force makes more recommendations Monday. But even if it doesnt, Newton said, people advocating for reform realize the task forces recommendations arent the final say.
Its not the end of the process, he said. From this point forward, the committee themselves will have an ability to say what they think should be done, and then from that point it will go on to the City Council.
The report is 170 pages, but only three paragraphs are dedicated to actual recommendations from the task force.
The task force recommended improving communication between the CRB and the public through a Web page, putting a list of board members and information on the appeals process on that site and publishing the disposition of appeals to the public.
The lack of perceived power/authority by the CRB is also worth noting, as requests for the CRB to have subpoena power was a recurring theme throughout, the report says.
Community groups and the Charlotte School of Law, which has studied the board, have recommended that the city give the board subpoena power when investigating allegations of police misconduct. Proponents of change also said the board should be allowed to conduct its own investigations and that the city should lower the standard that residents have to meet to have their cases heard by the board.
In April, then-Mayor Anthony Foxx asked a task force to evaluate the efficacy of the Citizens Review Board.
The task force met with groups of residents and stakeholders members of the law school, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and a group advocating for reforming the review board. In a memo to City Council members, police Chief Rodney Monroe said he didnt believe the board needed to be changed, saying his department does a good job of policing itself.
Task force members began offering their findings at last months Council-Manager Relations Committee.
But council members on that committee asked the task force to make its own recommendations about what improvements needed to be made to the board.
But before the committees next meeting, a police shooting galvanized groups that want the CRB reformed.
On Sept. 14, Officer Randall Kerrick shot and killed Jonathan Ferrell, who was looking for help after a car wreck in the Bradfield Farms neighborhood. Kerrick was charged with voluntary manslaughter hours later.
The shooting gained national attention and sparked outrage across the city, including from people asking for a strong Citizens Review Board.
Were not asking. Were demanding, said John Barnette, the founder of the True Healing Under God ministry.
Wootson: 704-358-5046; Twitter: @CleveWootson
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