FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 3, 2015
ACLU of Florida Media Office,, (786) 363-2737

TAMPA, FL - Today, during an often-heated session, the Tampa City Council debated a proposal by Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn regarding the establishment of a civilian review panel for police conduct which lacks independent review authority.

Following the debate at today’s council meeting, ACLU of Florida Director of Advocacy Joyce Hamilton Henry stated:

“We hope that the city council understands from the reaction at today’s meeting that the current proposal falls well short of what the community needs and is demanding when it comes to accountability for law enforcement. A truly independent civilian review board should have the authority to conduct its own investigations, give policy recommendations, and make determinations regarding discipline. A body that can only review the conclusions of the department’s internal investigation is not an independent oversight body – it’s dangerously close to a rubber stamp. The racial disparity in how laws are being enforced in Tampa has eroded the trust between the community and the police who serve them, and we hope that the city council understands that. Tampa needs a real civilian oversight board, not a band-aid, to restore that trust and keep our community safe.”

“I am so proud of the way that the citizens of Tampa have come together around this issue to make their voices heard. Going forward, the city council and the mayor must come together to advance the interests of the entire community they were elected to serve.”