WXXI AM News

Police Accountability Board

Noelle E. C. Evans | WXXI News

Members of the Police Accountability Board on Tuesday called on city officials to include them in ongoing investigations following the death of Daniel Prude after he was restrained and suffocated while in custody. He died a week later.

The civilian-run board, which was established to investigate police misconduct, has been excluded from deliberations over the Rochester Police Department, board chair Shani Wilson said. She said that undermines the point of having an accountability board.

We continue our conversation issues surrounding Daniel Prude, who died , We welcome members of the Rochester Police Accountability Board to discuss policing in Rochester and possible reforms. We're also joined by Rochester CITY Newspaper reporter Gino Fanelli, who discusses his recent piece examining 50 years of police reform in Rochester.

Our guests:

  • Shani Wilson, chair of the Rochester Police Accountability Board
  • Danielle Tucker, member of the Rochester Police Accountability Board
  • Drorah Setel, member of the Rochester Police Accountability Board
  • Gino Fanelli, reporter for Rochester CITY Newspaper

We sit down with members of the Rochester Police Accountability Board. Rochestarians approved the PAB referendum in November with 75 percent of the vote. In January, City Council approved the board’s nine members. The PAB is tasked with investigating complaints of misconduct made against Rochester police officers. Board members aren’t meeting in person during the pandemic, but they are working on independent research – this, amid conversations about police-community relations and defunding the police.

This hour, we talk to board members about their roles and work, about legal issues surrounding the PAB, and more. Our guests:

  • Shani Wilson, chair of the PAB, activist, and physician assistant who specializes in internal medicine 
  • Celia McIntosh, DNP, RN, FNP-C, PMHNP-BC, vice chair of the PAB, and nurse practitioner
  • Ida Pérez, member of the PAB, chair of the Scrantom Street Block Club, and director of of Ibero early childhood services
  • Rabbi Drorah Setel, J.D., member of the PAB, and Rabbi at Temple Emanu-El

Rochester City Council is appealing a court decision that struck down the fledgling Police Accountability Board’s disciplinary powers, stripping it of a key function.

In a filing submitted Friday to the state Appellate Division court, City Council disputes state Supreme Court Justice John Ark’s May 7 decision in a case brought by the Rochester Police Locust Club, the union representing Rochester police officers, challenging the board’s creation and powers. Ark ruled that the board cannot discipline officers or conduct hearings in disciplinary matters

Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary sat down with the city’s Police Accountability Board for the first time Thursday. That independent board was approved by voters last year to provide oversight for the department and investigate police misconduct claims.

Among the topics that came up were transparency, the internal culture of policing and calls to defund the Rochester police department. Singletary said he’s against it.

Max Schulte/WXXI News

Members of Rochester City Council and concerned community members are calling for a deeper look into the incident between a 10-year-old girl and city police. 

Rochester police arrested three people during a traffic stop on Route 104 Sunday. , Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary says during that stop, officers handcuffed a 10-year-old girl who was in the car to assist in “controlling her actions and for the safety of everyone involved."

New York State Supreme Court Judge John Ark said that Local Law Number 2 which created the board for the city of Rochester will not stand. That law was passed by City Council last May and overwhelmingly approved by voters in November.

Emily Hunt for WXXI News

The City of Rochester is looking for someone to lead the independent Police Accountability Board. A job opening for the executive director of the board was posted on the city’s website.

The controversial board was approved by voters in November and was expected to have the power to investigate and punish police officers who it deemed guilty of misconduct.

Emily Hunt for WXXI News

Rochester’s Police Accountability Board will not be able to punish police officers -- for now, anyway.

State Supreme Court Judge John Ark ruled Tuesday that the newly created board can operate, but he is strictly limiting what they can do. 

Council approves PAB appointments

Jan 21, 2020
Gino Fanelli/CITY Newspaper

By unanimous vote Tuesday night, Rochester City Council appointed the first-ever members of the new Police Accountability Board.

The initial board will consist of the Rev. Matthew Nickoloff, Ida Perez, Rabbi Drorah Setel, Dr. Robert Harrisson III, Jonathan Dollhopf, Miquel Powell, Dr. Celia McIntosh, Shani Wilson, and the Rev. Dr. Rickey B. Harvey.

“These are outstanding, excellent,” Council President Loretta Scott said of the selections. “The level of diversity across numerous fields I think was really, really impressive.”

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