Bradenton city officials considering citizen review board for police department

Manatee County
Bradenton police

BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) – Last month, the head of the Manatee County NAACP was forcibly removed from a city council meeting.

He was complaining about the police department and now some city leaders are pushing for changes.

On Wednesday for the first time, the city council discussed the idea of a citizen review board for the police department.

Last month, Rodney Jones, the head of the Manatee County NAACP spoke out about alleged police brutality and intimidation.

“I feel like my life is in danger,” he said at the time.

After he refused to sit down, jones was forcibly removed and arrested.

On Wednesday city council member Harold Byrd proposed a citizen review board for the police department.

“Basically we don’t have oversight,” said Byrd. “A board of citizens that will make suggestions, I’m always open for suggestions you know, how we could move forward.”

It led to a debate lasting nearly two hours.

“I would like to speak in opposition to the review if we don’t do every department,” said council member Gene Gallo.

Police Chief Melanie Bevan weighed in.

“I think we have a solution without a problem,” said Bevan. “As a police department we embrace oversight, we live oversight, we are a very transparent agency.”

Rodney Jones returned to the stand to address the council.

“Anytime we bring up any type of complaint, we’re immediately demonized, like we’re liars, it’s like the entire community is a liar. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves, you don’t represent me and I have no respect for any of you up there or this chamber,” said Jones.

The city council feels the outdated city charter does not provide clear guidance on police oversight.

They did not take a vote, but this topic is expected to return in an upcoming meeting. 

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