Near meltdown at police complaint meeting

Audience members at the Thursday evening meeting.

A second community feedback meeting on how Evanston might best establish a citizen's working group to devise a new police complaint review process fell into acrimony this evening as speakers denounced a summary of feedback from the first meeting prepared by city staff.

Michele Hays.

Michele Hays conceded she hadn't turned in her feedback form in at the first meeting but said it was unfair to have summarized the results.

"I don't think we understood that was how the feedback was going to be used," Hays said.

"You need to start over," Hays added. "It's not OK to present this to the Human Services Committee" next Monday. "If this is what we're doing, I don't want to be a part of it."

Kimberly Richardson.

Kimberly Richardson, the assistant to the city manager who chaired the meeting, repeatedly told speakers they were welcome to attend Monday's Human Services Committee meeting to make their views known, but said staff had been told by the committee to put together its feedback from the sessions in time for that meeting.

About three dozen people attended the first meeting a week ago and roughly two dozen, not all of whom had been at the first meeting, showed up this evening for the second session.

Dickelle Fonda.

"This feels so rushed," said Dickelle Fonda, who complained about the composition of the existing police review committee appointed by the mayor. "They don't represent the oppressed and those experiencing difficulty in the city," she added.

The City Code and the City Council Rules specify that the mayor makes appointments to all city boards and committees, subject to approval by the City Council.

But the residents who attended the first meeting were asked who should select members for the proposed working group, and at the second meeting several other people objected to the idea of having the mayor make the appointments.

Bobby Burns.

Bobby Burns suggested that people upset with the process should meet over the weekend to plan what they would say to the City Council's Human Services Committee when it meets to discuss the police complaint policy Monday night.

Anna Roosevelt.

Anna Roosevelt, an anthropology professor at the University of Illinois Chicago, said she'd been gathering a lot of research on police complaint review procedures and that the group should have more time to review it.

Richardson's summary of the feedback from the first meeting also indicated that most attendees thought the proposed working group should have 15 to 25 members and that it would likely need three to six months to develop its report.

Monday's Human Services Committee meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers at the Civic Center.

Related story

Police complaint working group gathers (2/24/17)

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Comments

Police complaint working group

Based on my experience on creating more democratic procedures at ALL stages of a public process, I wonder if this process wouldn't be better served by having the police complaint meetings chaired by a neutral, trained facilitator.   This would be someone agreed to by BOTH the City officials and the citizen group.  There are many organizations that are working on "dialogue & deliberation", "participatory democracy", "restorative justice", etc.  There are a number of Evanston residents who are trained in mediation, meeting facilitation, etc.   Perhaps they could suggest the right organization or person to facilitate these meetings.

Let's start by changing how members are chosen

Let's start by changing the rules for the person who appoints members of Ctiy Council committees.  Remember when she tried to appoint to the Library Board a friend she'd bailed out of foreclosure?  The person never read a word of her preparation packet for meetings.