Monday, September 27, 2004

What is Measure II?

The RCPA is presently focused on educating voters in Riverside about Measure II, a proposed amendment that would make the Community Police Review Commission part of the Riverside City Charter. This Measure will be on the ballot on November 2, 2004.

The Community Police Review Commission was created in 2000 by the Riverside City Council and is a body dedicated to oversight of the Riverside Police Department. It has 9 commissioners. More information on the CPRC is available at

The CPRC was formulated and proposed by Riverside community members who began meeting in January 1999 in response to the death of Tyisha Miller on December 28, 1998. Miller, a 19-year-old African American woman, was shot and killed by four Riverside Police Department officers in an incident that electrified the city. Some community members believed that the best response to this tragedy was to try to create a better police department through greater community involvement and structured mechanisms for oversight. We coalesced into a coalition and named ourselves the Riverside Coalition for Police Accountability, with representatives from many different local organizations. We spent months researching different models for community oversight and then began a considered process of educating the public and our elected officials about its necessity. When the CPRC was established in 2000, our focus shifted toward supporting its activities and keeping an eye on its development.

During the summer of 2004, several things happened. Two Council members, whose campaigns were supported by contributions from the Riverside Police Officers Association (RPOA)--the local police union--attempted to slash the budget of the CPRC and then to remove a particular Commissioner--a law enforcement officer--who had become the object of a smear campaign by the RPOA. At the same time, the City Charter Review Committee (appointed by the City Council) finalized its recommendations after almost a year of meetings. Among them was Measure II, recommending that the CPRC be included in the City Charter.

Between now and November 2nd, the RCPA is working to urge Riverside residents to vote YES on Measure II. We will host and participate in a number of public outreach efforts to educate the community about oversight generally, and specifically about the need for the City to fully commit to oversight by including it in the City Charter and thus protecting it from the political winds. Check back here for updates on events and activities!


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