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Broward works out details of 23-member criminal justice review board

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – “People on the street are crying for justice, for fairness, for transparency,” Broward County Mayor Dale Holness says.

And in response to those cries for racial justice and police reform, county commissioners met Tuesday to create a criminal justice review board made up of 23 members of the community.

It’s a way of policing the police and changing local policies.

“We’re not just looking at policing and police abuse, but also the whole criminal justice system,” Holness said. “We need to look at how the state attorney operates. What happens when someone goes before a judge?”

At Tuesday’s county commission meeting, the proposal for a board was hashed out.

Most of the time in chambers was spent debating who would be allowed to sit on this review board to look at cases and come up with changes. And there was debate over whether law enforcement should be represented on the panel

“You have to have a municipal member and you have to have a member from [the Broward Sheriff’s Office] to tell you what they consider excessive force. What are their policies?” Commissioner Barbara Sharief said. “That’s not to stifle their voice but to educate the board.”

It was agreed that two members of law enforcement would be allowed to sit on the board, but also many other people, from mental health officials to clergy, attorneys and activists.

Each commissioner will choose a member but more than half will be selected from several areas in in the community.

“Everyone can be at the table, examining the issues and doing the research that’s necessary to bring back recommendations for policy changes,” Holness said.

The proposal was worked on and ultimately approved, but there is one more vote Oct. 20 before we start to see members get appointed to the board.


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