Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin has signed an executive order creating the city’s first Civilian Review Board, intended to improve the relationship between the community and the city’s police department.
“This announcement is a result of the collaborative work of our Public Safety Task Force and broader efforts to safeguard residents and officers’ safety,” Woodfin said. “However, the work of establishing an independent, and community led, platform for police transparency began for many residents in 1979, when Bonita Carter was killed as a result of reckless police action. Today represents a major step in the effort to raise residents’ trust and oversight to police operations.”
The Civilian Review Board holds the authority to investigate, with some subpoena powers, complaints of police misconduct submitted to the board by citizens, with exceptions to cases brought to before BPD internal investigations, the Jefferson County Personnel Board or the U.S District Attorney, according to the mayor.
Once an initial complaint is submitted to the board, an automatic 30-day review period for investigating claims begins. The board’s findings and recommendations are then sent to the chief of police once the investigations are completed.
“Our Civilian Review Board will provide authentic community voice, involvement and engagement,” said Woodfin. “This is an opportunity to build bridges to cultivate trust to creating more checks and balances and for ensuring justice.
“Everybody, this is an opportunity to build bridges, to cultivate trust, to creating more checks and balances and for ensuring justice,” Woodfin said.
The creation of a civilian review board is one of many recommendations submitted by Birmingham’s Public Safety Task Force, a group formed to review public safety issues in the city in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd and subsequent nationwide protests against police brutality.
“As my administration continues to implement recommendations from the Public Safety Task Force, these executive orders will build on our model use-of-force standards,” Woodfin said.
The Birmingham Civilian Review Board’s members include:
- Rev. Lawrence Conoway, pastor of Fellowship Bible Church in Birmingham
- T. Marie King, a Birmingham-based activist, speaker and trainer/facilitator
- Annetta Nunn, YWCA domestic violence court advocate and former chief of the Birmingham Police Department
- Victor Revill, a Birmingham criminal justice attorney and member of the Public Safety Task Force
- Joyce White Vance, a former U.S attorney for the Northern District of Alabama and Public Safety Task Force member