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In wake of police shootings, Anaheim launching citizen review board

In the wake of two controversial police shootings, Anaheim is launching a pilot citizens review board that would help monitor the city's Police Department.

The nine-member board, appointed by the city manager, will be selected using a lottery system with representatives coming from four neighborhood council areas.

The panel will provide recommendations to city officials, issue annual reports and conduct community outreach, according to the staff report.

City Manager Marcie Edwards said she expects to have board members in place by summer -- two years after residents took to the streets in protest after the fatal shootings of Manuel Diaz and Joel Acevedo.

Angry residents at the time called for the formation of a citizen’s commission to review allegations of police misconduct.

Since then the city has examined police citizen review models.

The board is expected to work with the Office of Independent Review Group when it scrutinizes officer-involved shootings and use-of-force cases.

“Under the pilot program, the scope of the external auditor will be expanded to allow for real-time monitoring of critical incidents and investigations,” the staff report said.

However, the board won’t have access to police personnel files, nor will it have subpoena or investigative powers.

That lack of authority, said members of the Anaheim Community Coalition, which has been pushing for a citizen review board, will make the board “ineffective.”

“We don’t need more bureaucracy,” said Donna Acevedo, the mother of Joel Acevedo. 

“What we need is true oversight of the police and this cannot be done without the power to review the police’s actions and practices.”

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adolfo.flores@latimes.com

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