Unsuccessful Opposition: the Ann Arbor Police Review Board Proposal

aura

Unsuccessful opposition to crimes of every description invariably increases their power and malignity —Elizabeth Heyrick, 1824

We have a killer cop still on our streets, armed and dangerous.

There will be no healing without justice. We will never forget Aura Rosser.

We will never believe that Ried feared for his life, being armed to the teeth, with his partner by his side, who discharged his taser. We will never believe Ried feared for his life because Aura held a fillet knife in her own kitchen (if any of that account is even actual truth; it’s all allegations at this point, and aside from it being strange and cruel to make allegations against a person who is dead, there not only was not a trial where evidence may be ascertained, and in which Ried and Raab could be cross-examined, but there was not even an interviewing of Ried and Raab by the supposedly-independent State police investigators. The investigation was a complete sham).

The goal of oversight should be—as it was for the Panthers fifty years ago—community control of the police. The Ann Arbor Human Rights Commission’s report and recommendation to City Council mentions Aura’s name several times in the opening, and then proposes the implementation of police review, not oversight! It proposes pacification, as opposed to a turning of the tables. Anything less than community control of the police is worse than nothing!

The community needs to organize separately to discuss what it needs from the police, if anything at all. The police can meet separately to discuss their own issues; though, from the way Aura’s murder and cover-up have proceeded, the police seem to be very organized indeed. There is no point in talking to the police while they accept no responsibility. These dishonest conversations will not “improve relations” nor “inspire trust.”

As the community comes together in conversation, one place to start may be to review the demands that Ann Arbor to Ferguson made in May 2015:

1. The oversight commission will improve transparency by:

a) notifying the public of the use of lethal weapons by the police
b) collecting, analyzing and investigating complaints against police, using subpoena power, and making the analysis available to the public
c) notifying the public of the current professional standards followed by the AAPD

2. The oversight commission will consist of folks that are representative of the community; this can be done either by election, or by making sure that the commission’s demographic aligns with either the demographic makeup of community complainants, or the demographic makeup of the county jail.

3. The oversight commission may employ independent investigators.

4. The oversight commission will make policy recommendations to the City Council and the AAPD regarding training, informed by anti-racist, feminist and LGBTQ ally principles.

5. The oversight commission will participate in the hiring and firing of AAPD officers and administration, being guided by evidence of the number and severity of complaints, as well as evidence of implicit bias.

6. The oversight commission will have communication with the court and correctional facilities, so as to be able to intervene on behalf of the public in cases of emergency (such as wrongful arrest and denial of medication while incarcerated). This may be done by creating a county-wide oversight commission, which may consist of independent and cooperating individual city oversight commissions.

7. The oversight commission will make sure that police and civilians interact in a positive way:

a) by organizing social events (sports, barbeques, etc.)
b) by requiring that police officers live near the communities they serve
c) by organizing workshops with students and community members of a variety of ethnic groups, celebrating cultural creativity and fostering mutual respect and cooperation

8. The oversight commission will follow the principles of restorative justice, encouraging dialogue and healing.

9. The expenses of the oversight commission, if any, will be funded by the city; one way to create such a fund is to reallocate some of the current $25,000,000 AAPD budget.

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