THE NEXT STEP FORWARD!
Darlene Byrd and City Councilman Ismail Smith Wade-El.
* Darlene Byrd’s conversation with Lancaster city council last Tuesday night continues below and picks up right after Ismail Smith Wade-El’s reply further down in this post.
Her daughter and grand-daughter were involved in a mistaken identity police stop on May 12th of this year. She complained about and worked with council to revise the police complaint form. But she still has not received answers.
Her comments do not end with this. She then turns to the head of the Public Safety Committee, Councilman Pete Soto, and continues. That will be coming…
— Darlene Byrd – I understand that’s the whole picture. But we’re talking about a civilian complaint form which is filed and goes through the Lancaster City process. I have came here and I went through that whole process and I took council along with me.
It’s broken and it does not work and there needs to be a step. Maybe we don’t have subpoena power but there’s no reason and the DA has said – and if I need to bring him here I can do that – there is no reason why we don’t have a citizen’s review panel. I think that situation we went through would have came out a lot differently if we had residents hearing the issues that went down. And they have the right to know the same information that I got and decisions could have been made that were not made in our favor and what I think was justice.
Like I said, I’m not looking for revenge. I brought this council solutions. I’ve seen and I went through the whole process. It’s broken. We need to take the next step. You already have that – the NAACP, you have Stand up for Lancaster – you have every committee come to you and say we need a citizen’s review board. So it’s time to take it to the top level and not say, oh, we don’t have subpoena power to do this. We have to start somewhere. We can’t continue to say we are not moving forward.
— Ismail Smith Wade-El – Ms. Byrd, I’m sorry that’s inaccurate because Lancaster Stands UP and the NAACP have concluded in their call for a citizen’s review board specifically to include the subpoena power and frankly, uh, uh, I agree with you that often the Lancaster City Police are out of line. That’s me as an individual council member but I also think that my experience with the District Attorney, as regards those cases that you can see in Lancaster Online or as case after case has turned out, has a very different take on what does constitute police misconduct than he may be letting you know.
— Darlene Byrd – Right, and I’m not disputing that. Like I said, we’re talking about civilian complaint form that is filed with the Lancaster City Police. There is no reason why we don’t have residents able to look over that information. You have one Sgt. – Lopez that looks at the information, was hired by the police – who does not even report back to the complainee. We filed a complaint. He tried to justify what the police did. He didn’t investigate and do fact finding. He didn’t come back to us and say this is what we found out. That is something that this board could do that would not interfere with whatever the DA has said but would also give us some justification on what is actually happening with our complaints.
We agreed that the form was wrong. We fixed the form but now the process is wrong. So what are we going to do – stop there? We’ve got to take the next step forward. If the next step forward is to come up with a citizen review board maybe [inaudible] DA said, the next step is where you are trying to fight for that subpoena power. But to sit back and let him tell us no and go no where – is not the answer.
— Ismail Smith Wade-El – We have not in matter of fact gone no where. I understand what you’re saying to me, Darlene, but that’s just not true because sitting in the room, the NAACP, Lancaster Stands Up, [inaudible], the police chief, the Pennsylvania – the State Human Relations Commission and the Department of Justice are working on this very thing and it continues. So, um, I just can’t – not even by me – but even by the work of all those people – can’t allow you to just say that nothing is going on because there is important work being done.
From the front page of today’s LNP print edition (left) – you can watch last night’s entire Martin Luther King Celebration including Pastor Amos Brown on the “See-Thru City – Lancaster, PA” Facebook page (click here).
Coming later today – more from Darlene Byrd!
GIVE THEM THE BYRD! – 2