Two members of the Allegheny County Council submitted a bill to create a countywide Civilian Police Review Board, similar to the board already in existence in Pittsburgh. A public hearing was held in August by Council, and below is testimony given by a Green Party spokesperson:
Hi, my name is Jay Walker, and I’m the chair of the Green Party of Allegheny County. I represent the more than 1000 registered Green Party members who reside in this county. Our party endorsed an independent review board last September because it exemplified three out of the four pillars that form the foundation of our party.
One of our four pillars is nonviolence. That includes police violence. We believe that the presence of an independent police review board would reduce the incidences of police violence like we’ve seen in the City of Pittsburgh after ours was created.
The second pillar of our party is grassroots democracy. That means that our government and the agents of our government are accountable to the people. A civilian oversight board provides some of this much needed accountability building faith in our civic institutions.
The third pillar of our party is social justice. Across the country we see countless examples of justice being left at the wayside when it comes to cases of police violence. Having an oversight body that applies countywide would reduce the massive racial disparities that exist in policing.
The Green Party of Allegheny County has experienced a taste of police run rampant. When one of our candidates was gathering signatures in Moon, his wife was forcefully arrested by the Moon police. Now after unjust arrests from the Coraopolis police, countless court dates, and multiple undeserved prison stints, we have completely lost what little faith we had in the criminal justice community in our county. We are experiencing the nightmare of being railroaded through the criminal justice system. An independent civilian police review board would have prevented what we experienced. We can tell you that the judges, police, and councils in Moon and Coraopolis are anything but independent. The systems of checks and balances that are supposed to exist do not exist, and a review board can help create those checks and balances.
Please vote yes to enact this review board. The residents of our county deserve non-violence, grassroots democracy, and social justice at all levels of government. Thank you.
On August 27, the Allegheny County Council voted 9-6 against creation of a Civilian Police Review Board. Five Council Democrats joined four Republicans to defeat the measure.
Jay Ting Walker is the chair of the Green Party of Allegheny County (GPOAC), https://www.alleghenygreens.org/about. In 2018, Walker ran for PA House of Representatives in District 23. Please follow GPOAC on social media, @AlleghenyGreens on Facebook and Twitter. For more information about GPOAC, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Green Party of Pennsylvania
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 29, 2019