Officer-involved shootings increase demand for St. Louis citizen - KMOV.com

Officer-involved shootings increase demand for St. Louis citizen review board

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

Police-involved shootings have increased the calls for a citizen review board in St. Louis, a controversial issue that even sparked a pushing and shoving match in January at a City Hall meeting.

While many expected a final vote Wednesday morning for plans to create a civilian oversight board, the Board of Alderman instead chose to delay its decision.

Those in support of having a civilian oversight board saw the meeting as a step in the right direction, but others say there are still many issues the bill has yet to address.

"It is definitely a wondrous day for the City of St. Louis, for the residents of the City of St. Louis,” said Jamala Rogers of the Coalition Against Police Crimes and Repression. She added that it's been a 30 year fight to bring local control and more accountability to the St. Louis City Police Department.

That's why Rogers continues to champion creating a civilian oversight board. On Wednesday morning lawmakers came together to discuss the bill in its final form.

"There was some confusion on whether or not there was going to be amendments last time so those people were on board today,” Rogers said.

It's a different story for the lawyer of the St. Louis City Police Officers Association, who told News 4 the bill has three major flaws that have not been addressed.

He said there's still no provision in place for how members of the Civilian Oversight Board will get records and no way to remove a board member who commits a crime.

He's also against part of the bill which gives them investigative powers, but some Aldermen disagree.

"It does not represent what many people think will be a perfect bill on either side. Some people wanted it to be stronger, some people think it goes too far, but it is compromise,” said bill sponsor and alderman, Antonio French.

Supporters of the bill hope to follow it with two other bills, one that gives the board subpoena power and another that will create a Department of Civilian Oversight.

The Board of Aldermen will meet again next Monday for an expected final vote.

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