|Date:||March 26, 2021|
By Aaron Besecker | March 26, 2021
Mayor Byron W. Brown's draft recommendations for police reform in Buffalo released earlier this week fail to take adequate steps toward change and ignored community input, a group of activists and community groups said Friday.
The mayor's proposed reforms would keep a police presence in schools, create no independent oversight of the police and leave unresolved an overreliance on police response to individuals suffering from mental health issues, they said.
"These recommendations simply do not go far enough to protect communities most harmed by the systems in place," Tanvier Peart of Partnership for the Public Good said during a news conference conducted over video conferencing. "At a time when people are looking for transformational change, reforms that keep police in schools and take incremental steps to create law enforcement accountability barely move the needle."
The four-page draft, released Monday, is part of the city's effort to comply with a 2020 order from Gov. Andrew Cuomo for communities in the state that have their own police departments to adopt a reform plan by Thursday. Cuomo's order came in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd, a Black man, by a white Minneapolis police officer, which triggered nationwide protests and calls for police reform.
The city has yet to incorporate a proposal to create an independent police oversight body, as recommended by the Police Advisory Board, an advisory committee created by the Common Council, said board member Mike Powell.
None of the advisory board's recommendations were included in the draft recommendations, Powell said, and the board wasn't consulted or interviewed in the development of the recommendations.
The draft recommendations fail to provide clarity on de-escalation techniques officers should use and omitted recommendations about police response to calls involving individuals with mental health issues, Powell said.
Read the full article on the Buffalo News website here.