Urgent PAB Update

Mayor Lovely Warren presented a police accountability proposal to City Council on December 27, 2018. The Police Accountability Board Alliance strongly opposes the Mayor’s police accountability proposal. The Mayor’s proposal is unacceptable and undermines the work done by City Council and the Police Accountability Board Alliance to draft an ordinance that includes all five pillars necessary to effectively ensure true accountability:

  1. An independent agency of city government, separate from RPD
  2. The power to independently investigate complaints of police misconduct
  3. Subpoena power to compel the production of evidence and witnesses
  4. Disciplinary power, using a disciplinary matrix
  5. The power to review and evaluate RPD patterns, practices, policies and procedures to recommend systemic changes and to prevent misconduct from happening in the first place.

The Mayor’s proposal differs significantly from the five pillars insofar as it:

  • Lacks PAB disciplinary power
  • Dramatically curtails the PAB’s investigative power
  • Limits the PAB’s power to review RPD policies and procedures
  • Fails to give majority representation on the PAB to the community, thereby limiting PAB’s actual independence from the status quo
  • Significantly underfunds the PAB and does not even include full time investigative staff
  • Ignores the demands of the community and the Alliance

The Mayor’s proposal is essentially the same as the ordinance drafted by City Council in the fall of 2018, despite the fact that City Council met with the Police Accountability Board Alliance and, after extensive negotiations, agreed to an ordinance which included all five pillars. The Mayor’s proposal ignores this extensive community input.

Overall, the mayor’s proposal is under-powered, underfunded, and an underhanded attempt to undermine the demands of the community.

We call on City Council to reject the Mayor’s proposal and to pass the legislation proposed by the Alliance. City Council will discuss the Mayor’s proposal at the next City Council Committee meeting on Thursday January 10, 4:00pm at City Hall, 30 Church St. The Alliance calls on PAB supporters to attend this committee meeting and to voice their opposition to the Mayor’s proposal. Supporters can also attend the “Speak to Council” session on Tuesday January 15, 6:30pm at City Hall. To sign up to speak for “Speak to Council” session call (585) 428-7421 or email council@cityofrochester.gov.

You can read the Mayor's proposal and our draft negotiated with City Council here:

The City of Rochester fails to hold police officers accountable for misconduct and brutality. Between 2001 and 2016, citizens filed 923 allegations of excessive force against the RPD. The Chief of Police, who has the sole power to discipline officers, only sustained 16 of these allegations. The Chief of Police cannot be expected to investigate, evaluate, and discipline police officers. This is a clear conflict of interest. Between 2002 and 2016, only 13 allegations led to discipline.. The harshest discipline was 6 suspensions for sustained allegations of use of force. None were fired. Police misconduct will continue unless this broken system is replaced with an independent system that serves the interests of the people of Rochester, not just the RPD.

A coalition of community organizations came together in 2017 and proposed a Police Accountability Board (PAB) to replace the current broken system. The proposed PAB would be a civilian-led oversight board that is rooted in five essential pillars:

  • An independent agency of city government, separate from RPD
  • The power to independently investigate complaints of police misconduct
  • Subpoena power to compel the production of evidence and witnesses
  • Disciplinary power
  • The power to review and evaluate RPD patterns, practices, policies and procedures to recommend systemic changes and to prevent misconduct from happening in the first place.

In addition to the five pillars, sufficient funding is required so that complaints of misconduct are resolved efficiently and effectively in 90 days. To handle the volume of complaints that are filed in Rochester, the PAB will require a funding equal to 1% of RPD’s budget, one million dollars, a reasonable cost of true accountability, and an investment which will result in far fewer costly lawsuits against the city involving excessive force.

The majority of the board members of the PAB would be nominated by a coalition of the Rochester community organizations called the Police Accountability Board Alliance. The Alliance removes the conflict of interest and replaces it with a civilian-led oversight system, empowering the communities that have had no direct control over how they are policed for far too long.

Intro to PAB

Read this short explainer about the problem with police accountability in Rochester and our solution.

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Read PAB Ordinance

Read the proposed ordinance presented to City Council that can establish the PAB in Rochester.

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Donate

Donate to the #PABnow campaign. Your funds will help with this grassroots effort.

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Get Involved

There are many ways to get involved with the PAB:

To connect with the PAB Alliance, please contact us at alliance.pab@gmail.com

Events

Thursday January 10
City Council Committee Meeting4:00 pmCity Hall, 30 Church Street
Tuesday January 15
City Council Meeting6:30 pmCity Hall, 30 Church Street

The Alliance

The Police Accountability Board Alliance is a coalition of over 50 community organizations united to hold the police accountable in Rochester. The Alliance brings a diversity of perspectives and expertise to the shared struggle for police accountability. The City fails to hold police accountable largely because of the lack of community control over the police oversight system. The Alliance strives to change this paradigm by giving the community the power to review police misconduct and discipline officers.

One major function of the Alliance is to lead the campaign for establishing a Police Accountability Board (PAB). The Alliance has used public forums and demonstrations to increase public awareness. Police accountability is popular in Rochester and it is the mission of the Alliance to empower the community to move the PAB forward. Ultimately it is up to City Council to pass the PAB with 5 essential pillars.