A city review committee said the Durham Police Department should make internal investigations more public and view pointing a gun at someone as a use of force. He also wants a broad definition of inappropriate conduct for officers.
Police must demonstrate “the highest level of dignity and respect in tone, delivery and language in their communications and interactions with citizens, regardless of their race, creed, color, religion, sexual orientation, socio-social status. economic or any other characteristic or identification. Read the recommendations of the Durham Civilian Police Review Board.
The 18 recommendations follow a council hearing held in June to consider an incident in which an officer pointed his gun and pursued a 15-year-old boy at a Durham apartment complex last summer.
Board chairman DeWarren Langley declined to comment on the recommendations, saying they speak for themselves.
“I think they are explaining the board’s point of view,” he said on Wednesday.
Police body camera video shows an officer pointing his gun and chasing the teenager, who then lies face down on the concrete.
The teenager was handcuffed and patted by the police, but he was not charged with any crime.
Police later said they received a call about a person in a tank top holding a gun. The teenager was wearing a tank top.
He, his mother and other members of the community were outraged by the use of force against the teenager, who said he was running while playing cat with other children.
After an internal investigation by the Police Department’s Professional Standards Division, Constable ZB Starritt was suspended without pay for one day.
No disciplinary power
The Civilian Review Board does not have the power to discipline or reprimand an officer. It can only review the police department’s investigation of a complaint, not the complaint itself.
The council released its findings and recommendations to City Manager Wanda Page and Acting Police Chief Shari Montgomery in a June 30 memo.
The News & Observer got the grade thanks to a public information request. The jury’s findings, which spanned about a page, were redacted or blacked out, but the recommendations were included.
Montgomery responded in an August 6 memo, responding to each recommendation and explaining current policies.
The review board recommended that the city classify an officer pointing a gun at someone as a use of force.
Montgomery responded that officers in these situations are required to complete a “show of force” report, which is investigated as are use of force incidents.
Montgomery endorsed the board’s recommendation that the city prohibit officers from using the term âfemale thresherâ to describe suspects wearing white tank tops.
“The police department wholeheartedly agrees and has taken steps to address this concern with the department commanders,” she wrote.
The department is also updating the rules to ban the use of abusive and profane language, which has already been implemented, as well as to expand the language on the professionalism of agents interacting with individuals, the note from the interim leader.
The review board also recommended that officers leave their body cameras on at all times, except for personal breaks. Montgomery wrote that officers are supposed to have their cameras on when investigating potential crimes and related interactions, but the cameras’ battery life won’t last a full shift.
The recommendations also said the police should provide more information and assistance to those complaining about officers and provide more evidence to the civilian review board. Montgomery responded that professional standards officials give complainants the contact details of police officers and provide information to the board authorized by law.
The council also recommended that police investigators ask witnesses, officers and other more open-ended questions, but Montgomery said information is not always preferred.
“Although neutral and open-ended questions are preferable and constitute the majority of any investigation, leading questions are not always inappropriate and can be useful in dealing with undisputed substantive issues, directing the witness away from irrelevant questions, obtaining statements. opposing witness or to develop witness testimony, âshe wrote.