Police Review Blog

The Coalition for Police Review is an alliance dedicated to the implementation of genuine and effective police review processes for all law enforcement agencies operating in Humboldt County. It includes Redwood Chapter ACLU, Civil Liberties Monitoring Project, Human Rights Commission, Waterfront Greens and many more.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Eye’s divisive, disrespectful disinformation campaign -- Letter to the Editor

The Eye's divisive, disrespectful disinformation campaign

Letter to the Editor

Arcata Eye

The shameful campaign of disinformation from the Arcata Eye against our Coalition for Police Review campaign for citizen oversight of law enforcement must be exposed.

Legal opinions repeatedly cited without correction in your news articles are out of line with the case law on general law cities and police review. In fact the opinion of the Attorney General’s office, on record since 1998, clearly states:

“The constitutional provisions and statutes cited, including Government Code § 34004, would appear to provide ample authority for the electorate or legislative body of a California city (including general law cities) to provide in the city charter or by city ordinance that…a citizens’ review board has authority to investigate citizens’ complaints against police officers…”

Your allegations against Greg Allen for misconduct in the submission of our filing fee and proof of publication of our notice of intent to circulate in Arcata are also false and malicious. We have proof in writing of the filing of our initiative on the date we indicated at our press conference in March, and we also have the copy of the Times-Standard issue of Sunday, April 9 where our notice of intent was published. Your ignorance in this matter is entirely due to your failure to effectively communicate with any members of CPR.

The suppositions printed by your publication from Michael Smith are completely baseless and reveal the further unawareness of someone who never attended a CPR function. We also object to the lack of opportunity for us to rebut him, unlike the sneak preview you gave Michael Smith to the statement from Greg Allen, in complete contradiction of any semblance of fair play.

We want the Arcata City Council to take action. While we deeply appreciate the votes in favor of pursuing a police review ordinance last year from Councilmembers Dave Meserve and Paul Pitino, we are concerned about the “recusal” of Harmony Groves. One local paper has already called her action a “false recusal” when she left the room because an uninvited employer had given her prior knowledge that he would address the Council, which is certainly no grounds for any perceived or actual conflict of interest. A police review ordinance is inherently designed to address all complaints fairly, but since it wouldn’t be looking at any incidents prior to its formation, it would be literally impossible for a 2007 Police Review Commission to hear a 2005 complaint from a woman represented by a man who Groves happens to have a financial relationship with.

We can only express the greatest offense at the use of our names, both of which were even misspelled, by Michael Smith to advance his agenda to destroy Greg Allen and disrupt the work of CPR. We are not interested in being misused and we are certainly unwilling to be cast in a false light to perpetuate a hateful mythology which the Arcata Eye seems eager to adopt as gospel.

The real truth is we wouldn’t be where we are today, with initiatives filed, published and going into circulation in Arcata and Eureka for police review if it wasn’t for the hard work and tireless devotion of Greg Allen, who wrote these initiatives and has been steadfast on this issue for several years. We all have different strengths and weaknesses but we stand united in our efforts for police review.

We do not operate on the basis of tearing each other down to grab power. CPR works together as a collective of members from the Green Party, the ACLU, the Human Rights Commission and the Civil Liberties Monitoring Project. We know that our strength is found in the unity we share, based on the values implicit to police review: Accountability, responsibility, transparency, democracy. These are the values we have observed practiced by every member of CPR, including Greg Allen.

Four days passed since the brutal slaying of Cheri Moore but the time of mourning was brief indeed for these consistent critics of citizen oversight. Apparently no sense of urgency or humanity has entered into their calculations as they are content to tear down Greg Allen and police review, even if it means we wait years more, if ever, to actually do something real and lasting to make sure her death was not in vain. Do Michael Smith and the Arcata Eye truly feel no shame?

Xandra Manns

Christina Allbright


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