Evanston’s Human Services Committee opted Monday to give an ad hoc group of residents two more months to come up with suggestions for the structure of a committee intended develop revised policies for reviewing complaints against police.

The delay came at the request of members of the ad hoc group, including Bobby Burns of 2527 Jackson Ave., who said they hadn’t had enough time during two meetings over the past two weeks to come up with answers.

Burns, who runs a political consulting business called Powering Campaigns that has done work for Steve Hagerty’s mayoral campaign, said there’d been “fruitful discussion” at the two meetings but that there was a need for more discussion to have the widest possible community participation.

He also suggested finding a trained volunteer to facilitate the debate at the upcoming meetings.

In other public comment at the Human Services Committee meeting, a Northwestern University student who claimed to represent 25 other students and faculty at the school, attacked Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl for her defense of police searches following traffic stops.

Consent searches by police in departments across the country were the subject of a recent University of North Carolina research paper that indicated Evanston police conduct dramatically more searches of the cars of black than white drivers.

A recent study by a Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill details the demographics behind traffic…

Posted by Elizabeth Tisdahl on Saturday, March 4, 2017

Northwestern students and faculty who showed up to back the attack on the mayor.

Adam Gross used the study as the basis for a demand that the city “eliminate racially-motivated stops,” although the UNC study did not provide data addressing the motivation for police stops in Evanston.

He also claimed the mayor’s comments showed bias that made her unqualified to appoint members of the proposed committee to develop the new police review procedures.

Given the delay in creating that committee approved by the HSC Monday night, Tisdahl will have left office before the time comes to appoint that committee.

Joey Rodger.

But another speaker, Joey Rodger of 1730 Hinman Ave., founder and former executive director of Peaceable Cities Evanston, said she was “distressed by the nature of some of the conversation” on the police stops issue.

“We need to listen carefully and deeply to one another, not assuming that they have evil intent or don’t care about creating a peaceable city,” Rogers added.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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