Crowd members rose to their feet and shed tears after City Council unanimously voted Monday night to accept changes to a controversial board that oversees citizens' complaints against Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police.
Established in 1998, the 11-person Citizens Review Board - comprised of five appointees by City Council, three by the city manager and three by the mayor - is supposed to hear citizens' appeals to disciplinary decisions made by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department against officers. A Charlotte Observer investigation earlier this year found that of the 79 cases that have arose over 16 years, the board has never sided with a citizen, and only four citizens have received full hearings before the board.
The changes, effective immediately, make it easier for people to appeal to the board and offer more transparency by publishing resources to help citizens through the appeal process. The changes also lessen the standards that must be met to get a hearing and give the board access Internal Affairs investigative files. The board can also question the officer against whom there is a complaint and recommend changes to the review process to City Council.