Committee to meet to decide if CRB should change operations

by: Jenna Deery Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - On Monday morning, community activists in Charlotte will argue for changes to the city's Citizen Review Board.

They said it needs power to hold Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department accountable for wrongdoing on the job.

They told Eyewitness News that Monday is crucial for their plight.

The meeting will be held at the Government Center.

There could be two outcomes – the recommendations to change how the CRB operates move on to the final phase of approval, or the groups urging change start all over.

After months of meetings and protests, the work of the advocates for change comes down to what a committee decides.

"It puts us one step closer to having it pass before the end of session," said Matt Newton of CRB Reform Now.

On Monday, the group, made up of several other action groups, including the ACLU and the NACCP, will go before the Council-Manager Committee.

They will urge committee members to approve 12 recommendations designed to give the CRB more power, time and information when looking into citizen complaints against the CMPD officers.

"We need to give them the power they need to do the jobs that were put in place back in 1997," said Newton.

In the board's 16-year history, it has sided with the police department 100 percent of the time during misconduct reviews, which was enough to raise eyebrows.

Then, more attention was placed on reform when CMPD officer Randall Kerrick was charged in the killing of 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell back in September.

Supporters of reform believe the changes that could come would help regain trust between the community and the police.

"Everybody has a right to know what's going on, that way we make sure our tax money is going to," said resident Rob Bielopetrovich.

"We need that because our cops have to be policed too. Everybody is not an OK person. Even though you wear a badge, you may not be an OK person," said resident Patrick Patterson.

If the committee approves the changes, an ordinance will be drafted and that will then go to the city council for approval.

In the past, city leaders have told Channel 9 they invite possible change if it will improve trust.

However, the North Carolina fraternal order of police has spoken out against changes, saying the board is fine the way it is.