One week ago, the Richmond City Council acted to strengthen the Police Commission by moving to adopt changes proposed by the Commission itself, as well as 2 items introduced by Vice Mayor Eduardo Martinez, both co-sponsored by Councilmembers Beckles and McLaughlin.
Item J 1: First reading of ordinance to amend Richmond Municipal Code related to Police Commission, passed with a 5-1-1 vote with Bates abstaining & Pimple voting No.
Item K 2: Directed staff to initiate a Police Commission Investigation into the shooting death of Pedie Perez (as soon as the Police Commission Investigative Officer position is filled). Passed with Yes votes from Beckles, Martinez, McLaughlin, and Jael Myrick, with Bates again abstaining and Butt and Pimple voting No.
Item K 3: Directed staff to change language in the ordinance so that any police-involved fatality or serious injury will be automatically investigated by the Citizens Police Review Commission, even if a complaint is not filed. Passed 4-3, with affirmatives from the co-sponsors and Myrick, with Bates, Butt & Pimple voting against it. This directive is the essential first step in getting this reform added to the ordinance. The change will require 2 readings once staff has drafted the necessary language before it becomes law.
The RPA Steering Committee will be meeting to prepare a formal statement and plan outreach around these reforms. Initially, we are happy to say that:
"We have one of the best police forces in the state and now we'll have one of the best accountability standards and community oversight standards in the state, too. We're moving very clearly in the right direction and that has required and will continue to require vision and a steady commitment to justice."