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Push for stronger police oversight continues

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[UPDATED 2/20/17] The activist group Enough is Enough called again today for a complete overhaul of how complaints about police misconduct are handled in Rochester.  The group called for the creation of a Police Accountability Board last year that would have the legal power to investigate, judge, and discipline Rochester police officers, particularly in cases involving excessive use of force.  
Jessenia Edgeston holds up a picture of her husband taken after his encounter with police. - PHOTO BY RYAN WILLIAMSON
  • PHOTO BY RYAN WILLIAMSON
  • Jessenia Edgeston holds up a picture of her husband taken after his encounter with police.


Enough is Enough contends that the police cannot police
themselves and hold each other accountable. And the group says that a  November report by the Center for Governmental Research, done for City Council, leaves the false impression that only police chiefs can reprimand officers. At a press conference this morning, group spokesperson Barbara Lacker-Ware said that in New York State an independent "body" can, too.

City Council President Loretta Scott said that determining who can discipline officers is possibly the biggest  concern in developing a new police oversight process. During a phone interview earlier today, she said that City Council has hired  legal counsel to advise Council members about who can legally discipline police officers in New York.
 
Pastor Wanda Wilson, a speaker at the event, cited nearly a dozen cases where Enough Is Enough says police used excessive force. In every instance, she said, it was against a person of color. Among them was the 2013 incident involving Benny Warr. Police officers, Warr has said, dumped him from his wheelchair while he was waiting for a bus and beat him. 

Jessenia Edgeston, another speaker, said that her husband was on his way to buy medication for her when  he had an altercation with police that left him with a damaged eye socket.

People who oppose the idea of a strong Police Accountability Board often use a  "few bad cops" argument, Lacker-Ware said. "Even if we get rid of the bad apples," she said, "it doesn't rid us of the systemic racism that is in our society and in the RPD."


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