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Community reacts to citizens review board approval

Published: Oct. 6, 2020 at 5:37 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - The South Bend chapter of Black Lives Matter and the Michiana Alliance Against Racist and Police Repression are responding to the vote in favor of a citizens review board.

16 News Now sat in on a virtual press conference Tuesday to hear how they feel about the vote.

As the South Bend Common Council voted 8-1 in favor of a community police review board Monday evening, many of those who fought hard for this say there is still a lot of work to be done.

Representatives from the South Bend Chapter of Black Lives Matter and the Michiana Alliance Against Racist and Police Repression are excited about the passing of a citizens police review board.

“South Bend 12-20 gives us a mechanism to break this continuous feedback loop by creating meaningful citizen participation in the law enforcement process,” IUSB professor and member of BLM South Bend Dr. Dé Bryant said.

Some calling it the beginning of a new culture in South Bend.

“It’s more than just about what we are doing, but it’s the type of community we want to be. So the bill represents so much more than that,” BLM South Bend member Emmanuel Cannady said.

Along with the work that needs to be done in actually creating the 9-member board, the importance of educating the public on its use is also being stressed.

“Believe it or not, people don’t really know what their full range is, and to be aware that you have a right to complain or to register a concern with the review board on a range of issues,” Michiana Alliance Against Racist and Police Repression member Gerrie Casey said.

When addressing the concern that the citizens review board may affect police being able to do their job, Cannady says nothing will change for a majority of officers who are doing good work.

“It provides a foundation for officers to do good work and to continue to do good work, and it also points out those officers who aren’t necessarily doing their job to the best of their ability and those that aren’t truly upholding the trust of the community,” Cannady said.

Those in Tuesday’s news conference say this is just one step in the right direction.

“We can’t, again like I said, rest back and say this is over with. As a matter of fact, this is just the beginning,” South Bend Common Council Member Henry Davis Jr. said.

This is a story that we will continue to follow for you as the citizens review board is developed.

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