There’s a dispute in Champaign over the Citizen Review Subcommittee.
It’s responsible for an “unbiased review of the investigation citizen complaints” against the police department.
It comes after a council member Clarissa Fourman suggested a study session to discuss the Human Relations Commission absorbing the subcommittee.
Fourman says she’s not convinced the group needs to operate independently.
Emily Rodriguez, the chairwoman of the police review board, told WCIA the role of the group is indispensable.
“It allows us to focus like a laser on our one key mission and that is to restore access to law enforcement after an unfortunate interaction with Champaign Police Department,” Rodriguez explained.
She says before council formally discusses the subcommittee’s future, her members won’t be sitting idle.
“I can tell you that the commissioners are looking forward to having this conversation with the public,” said Rodriguez. “We are shocked by this new questioning of our responsibilities and I can tell you we all feel very strongly that we are ready to get back to work.”
Rodriguez fears if the ‘citizen’ aspect of the board is abolished, some people who might otherwise come forward with a complaint won’t.
“I think that this puts the city council’s support for the Citizen Review Subcommittee in question, which, again, is really unfortunate because we really have the support of the city staff and also the Champaign Police Department administration,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez says while the subcommittee has only been in existence for two years, it’s the result of decades of work.
“We are part of the legacy of Kiwane Carrington,” said Rodriguez. “A lot of community organizing went into the creation of our subcommittee, and in particular, a lot of work from the Champaign Police Department. They were a key collaborator in creating our subcommittee.”
The Citizen Review Subcommittee next meets Nov. 13.
Council member Fourman could not be reached for comment.