Today the ACLU Foundation of Southern California (ACLU/SC) sent a letter to the Anaheim City Council it to establish a Civilian Police Review Board to promote police accountability and restore community trust in the police force. The letter details the limitations of the current oversight structure for allegations of police misconduct in Anaheim, including a lack of transparency, a lack of impartiality, and an absence of resident involvement.
In the past 10 years, there have been at least 37 officer-involved shootings in Anaheim, including 21 fatal shootings in which the majority of the victims have been people of color.
In the wake of last summer’s unrest following the shooting deaths of several Latino men under murky circumstances, many residents have called for civilian review of police conduct. The City Manager has been tasked with presenting a proposal for civilian review to the City Council.
Opponents highlight that the Anaheim Police Department engages in its own internal review of police misconduct, and that external review also occurs, mainly through the Orange County District Attorney’s office. However, none of these review systems allows the public to see the evidence or review the findings.
“Public trust in police is essential to effective police work and community safety,” says Bardis Vakili, staff attorney for the ACLU/SC.
“A civilian review board, in which the community plays an active role in holding police accountable, will help assure Anaheim’s residents that complaints are investigated transparently and vigorously,” urged Vakili.  “At the same time it will vindicate officers, when allegations are not sustained, in a system that the public feels it can trust.”
The ACLU/SC urges concerned community members to write to the Anaheim City Council and make their feelings known.
View the letter: