Citizen continues to push for police review board

Published 10:41 pm Wednesday, August 11, 2010

SELMA — The official decision is out on whether the city council here would implement a citizen’s review committee to examine complaints about police officers.

Sherette Spicer, a Selma resident, has petitioned the council to implement the procedure under which a group of citizens would review citizens’ complaints about the conduct of police officers and give a recommendation about what the city should do.

During the Selma City Council meeting Tuesday, Spicer asked about the status of her request. Spicer said she has been a victim of unwanted sexual advances from a police officer. She calls the officer an “alleged rapist.” The officer’s name has not officially been released from the police department.

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Councilman Corey Bowie, who chairs the administrative committee for the council, said he is still working on a feasibility study. “ This information will be made from empirical data,” he said.

Bowie said he had some correspondence out. Once the answers come back, he will put the data together for analysis and forward a copy of that to her by e-mail.

Spicer told the council another person has accused the same police officer of sexual impropriety. “We still have an issue that could have been nipped in the bud a long time ago,” she said.

Police chief William Riley has said the unnamed officer is assigned to duty, which takes him off the streets. An investigation is under way.

A review committee would be balanced in determining the guilt or innocence of officers in matters held in question by city residents, Spicer has argued.

“Please let the citizens help us to help you help ourselves,” she said. “Allow the citizens to become involved and make things work.”

Spicer said a community review committee would require no extra labor on the part of city employees or elected officials.

Councilwoman Dr. Monica Newton reminded the council the city’s police expert, Ralph Ioimo, who holds a Ph.D., told the council during its July 27 meeting the community review boards had not work very well across the nation.

“It sounds good” he said. “But the experience across the country is the boards to less about officers who do wrong than officers do themselves.”

Council President Cecil Williamson told Spicer the council had yet to take action on any recommendation regarding the review committee.

Spicer said, “I just want somebody to feel the sense of urgency.”