The Berkeley Police Accountability Board

Regulations Subcommittee Meeting of the Newly Formed Police Accountability Board

The Berkeley Police Accountability Board (PAB) met on July 28th, 2021 in order to discuss, review and consider regulations regarding police accountability. These regulations are intended to allow the Interim Director of the Accountability Board Katherine Lee’s office the ability to investigate police complaints while permanent regulations are being developed.

Before the document was reviewed, public comment was enabled, and there appeared to be a lot of disagreement with the Regulation subcommittee. During her statement, Andrea Pritchett, a founding member of Berkeley Copwatch and a 30-year observer of Berkeley police, expressed some concern. Pritchett responded to the regulation document by saying “I was sort of shocked by how familiar [it was], I left the Police Review Commission because I felt that it was having zero impact on police accountability.” 

As a response to Pritchett’s comment, Katherine Lee responded by explaining “What is before you is in fact largely the Police Review Commission regulations modified as needed to account for the new processes in the charter amendment.” Since July, there have been five to six police complaints, and investigations have begun; however, regulations are needed to direct the process, and that’s why Lee said they decided to vote on re-using prc regulations. Lee also pointed out that voting on these interim laws was only the beginning, and that modifications and alterations can be made at any time.

Adjustments were discussed and made throughout the meeting, with one of the primary subjects being the ability to make third-party complaints. Suggestions were voted on to expand the scope of who can file complaints. Under the category of who may file, the language was altered to say “Aggrieved parties, as well as eyewitnesses to alleged police misconduct, may file a complaint. Complaints may also be initiated by the board upon a vote of 5 board members to authorize an investigation.” After hearing from the public, the PAB chose to make additional modifications to the interim regulations in order to improve both police accountability and public trust.

To watch the full meeting:

–Anna Rocha

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