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Police Commission Hears Calls For More Power In Light Of Officer-Involved Shooting Video

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio file, 2016

Tanya Faison, co-founder of Sacramento Black Lives Matter, presents her recommendations for better policing to the Sacramento Community Police Commission in 2016.

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio file, 2016

It's been four days since the release of a video that shows the shooting death of a mentally-ill black man by Sacramento Police.

The Sacramento Community Police Commission held its regularly-scheduled meeting Monday night and heard from advocates for the African-American, mentally-ill and homeless communities.

The commission has no authority to investigate an officer-involved shooting, which was disappointing to many who attended a commission meeting for the first time.

What the commission does have is an order from the city council to recommend how the Sacramento Police can do a better job with community relations and unbiased policing.

Tanya Faison is a co-founder of Sacramento Black Lives Matter.  

"Officers need to be patrolling the areas where they live because then they have relationships with those communities and they're going to treat those people with dignity even if they did break the law and they're getting arrested," she said. "They're not going to beat you up or call you names because they live up the street from you."

Faison also called on the commission to request more power from the city council, including the ability to investigate complaints against police.

The Office of Public Safety and Accountability has those powers now. But, it has a staff of two and provides feedback on the discipline officers receive. It does not conduct separtate officer-involved shooting investigations.

Bob Erlenbusch is with the Sacramento Housing Alliance.

He says the department has done the right thing with the creation of an Impact team to respond to service calls for the mentally ill and the homeless.

But, he says the police department spends $2.8 million enforcing the anti-camping ordinance that targets the homeless.

He requested the addition of eight homeless and mental-illness impact teams.
"How do you pay for an Impact team in every city council district? Reallocate that $2.8 million," Erlenbusch said.

Audria Williams came from Elk Grove to attend the meeting.She says she worries about how her children will be treated when they come in contact with law enforcement.

"We respect their role, we respect law enforcement, we teach our children to respect law enforcement, but there’s obviously a horrendous chasm, and we have to address it."

"In particular, we have a son that has special needs. And, so, when I think of him as a young African American male in this society at the temperature of the nature, I'm very concerned. So, I'm here because I need to be part of the solution."

The commission is expected to make its recommendations before the end of the year.

An officer from the police department was present and took notes, but did not speak.

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