TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Tampa Bay Community Action Committee hosted a news conference with local criminal justice advocates on Sunday to discuss potential reforms to Tampa’s Citizens Review Board.
The committee was joined by the ACLU, the NAACP, Students for a Democratic Society, Party of Socialism and Liberation, and Florida for Change at Tampa City Hall ahead of the City Council’s Public Workshop on Tuesday. In that meeting, council members will decide whether proposed changes to the Citizens Review Board will end up on the ballot in 2023 for Tampa voters to decide.
The Citizens Review Board reviews closed cases of police misconduct and is intended to provide transparency to strengthen relationships between the Tampa Police Department and the citizens they serve. However, some criminal justice advocates have criticized the board, saying it does not have enough power to truly old police accountable.
The groups discussed the board’s need for subpoena power to request and review documents related to police overreach and alleged abuse, as well as the need for an independent attorney on the board who is not on the City of Tampa’s payroll. They urged Tampa residents to come out to the City Council meeting on Tuesday to make their voices heard.
A 2021 poll conducted by the ACLU found that the majority of Tampa voters want to strengthen the Citizens Review Board, with over 80% agreeing that residents should vote on the issue of giving the board subpoena power and independent counsel.
You can watch the full news conference in the video player above.