Local News

Fayetteville eyes complaint review board for police

Posted June 7, 2012

— Allegations of racial profiling by Fayetteville police have prompted city officials to look at forming a public board to review complaints against officers.

Fayetteville officials said they would use practices in place in Durham, Greensboro, Charlotte and other cities to develop the Citizen Complaint Review Board, which they called an important step to improving credibility with the community.

The move follows a long-running dispute over the practice of consent searches, in which police search vehicles during traffic stops after getting approval from the drivers. Some groups raised concerns that police might be illegally profiling black drivers.

The Fayetteville City Council voted in January to halt consent searches, but a police advocacy group sued, citing a state Attorney General's Office opinion that consent searches are a legal law enforcement tool. A Superior Court judge ordered in March that the city allow the police department to resume the practice.

The city called in the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives to review the police department's policies and procedures, and the group said that, while blacks are disproportionately subjected to traffic stops and warrantless searches in Fayetteville, there was no evidence of profiling.

NOBLE recommended creating an outside review board to show that investigations are handled fairly and that officers' actions are measured against established policies and rules.

As part of the creation of the board, state lawmakers drafted legislation to release some information in officers' personnel files to board members. Senate Bill 939 passed the Committee on State and Local Government on Thursday and will likely be voted on next week by the full Senate.

John Midgette, executive director of the North Carolina Police Benevolent Association, said opening up officers' personnel files could put them at risk.

"Any other officer arresting somebody, the person arrested would have access to personnel records. That is not good legislation. That is not good law," Midgette said.

N.C. Police Benevolent Association, PBA logo PBA alleges conspiracy against Fayetteville Police Department

Mayor Tony Chavonne said the bill would allow only members of the review board to access personnel information.

"The only thing that anyone would be able to see would be pertinent to that particular charge made by the citizen," Chavonne said. "The only thing anyone would look at was what the citizen said, what the officer said and what was on the (dashboard camera) video in that particular incident."

The police department backs the creation of the review board, city officials said.

Meanwhile, Midgette said the PBA would ask the U.S. Department of Justice next week to investigate what it sees as a conspiracy to tarnish the credibility of the Fayetteville Police Department.

He cited the case of a driver who accused an officer of using a racial slur during a recent traffic stop. The dash-cam video of the stop doesn't support the driver's claim, and Midgette said the man should be charged with filing a false report.

"All of this anti-police retaliation cannot be done by a single person. Persons are acting together to deprive officers of their civil liberties," he said. "Police enjoy constitutional protection from these attacks."


This story is closed for comments.

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  • brentf777 Jun 8, 2012

    @jwms32. Protect and serve, what a joke. Cops haven't had that as their primary motivation in many decades. The new motto is ticket and harass. Police today are increasingly militarized and most of the "laws" they enforce are themselves unlawful, that is, they violate natural and/or Constitutional rights. In the early days of this country we had "peace officers" not "law enforcement officers". The job of the peace officer was simply to keep the peace. No patrols, no regulatory infractions, etc. Today, virtually every activity under the sun is either illegal or heavily regulated. This is not freedom. This is tyranny and those who enforce these thousands of "laws" also share in the guilt of those who made them. Law enforcement has long ceased to be an honorable occupation. They protect and serve the government, not its citizens. We actually should abolish government run law enforcement and privatize security services which would be on call and only seek out violent offenders.

  • jwms32 Jun 8, 2012

    People need to make their minds up...You complain about the FPD, you complain when you call 911 and it's not up to your "so called standards", you complain because of the color of the person being stopped by FPD, you complain if they are not always "politically" correct, you complain because the crime rate has increased in Fayetteville, complain, complain, complain!! Really, do away with the FPD period, live in a lawless society and see which you prefer!! Get over yourselves and let them do their jobs, they are probably bound by more rules and laws than the criminials,(White, Black, Brown, Purple or Green) themselves in trying to protect and serve your complaining self!!!

  • tatermommy52 Jun 8, 2012

    Civilian review boards are more lenient on the officers than peer related groups.

  • Dan Cooper Jun 8, 2012

    Too bad for the police, taking cheap shots from the lawless and liberals solely to remove any responsibility from the actions of black drivers. So police can't do their job because they'd be called racists, so expect the crime rate there to increase, hey it's what they want.

  • Sparkey Jun 8, 2012

    loprestw, you are correct.
    Leo and highway patrol are trained to take control of all situations so at the end of the day they can go home. But there are a few out there that let the badge go to their heads. But when we need them, they are always there. My comment earlier was not refered to LEO.

  • loprestw Jun 8, 2012

    A lot of people are talking bad but it seems they never had to walk in their shoes. For the ones who think the police are wrong do a ride along and see how they are abused by a culture that have no respect for the law or a civilized nation. Or go overseas and see what a real corrupt police force is like. Talk junk to a cop overseas and they will smoke you!

  • corgimom06 Jun 8, 2012

    Sadly I have run across a number of police officers that think because of who they are that they are above the law. There should be some kind of review and I agree with piene2 about cameras and audio. If they aren't doing anything wrong, then they have nothing to hide.

  • Sparkey Jun 8, 2012

    Give a inch and they will take a mile.

  • piene2 Jun 8, 2012

    Without a doubt this is a fantastically good idea. Every action of every cop in the nation should be subject to civilian review. While it is true that the Fayetteville Police Department is one of the worst and one of the most racist, none are exempt from misdoing. Every cop car should have a video and audio recording system that can not be turned off. Every cop should be carrying audio recording equipment that can not be turned off and all collected data should go to a secure storage location that the cops can not access. The data can be stored for a set period of time and automatically overwritten when that time has elapsed. such a system might sound complicated and expensive but in reality need not be either.

  • Sherlock Jun 7, 2012

    Citizen review board is really a very bad idea, you have indiv iduals that have no idea what policing is about seeking to take action against officers. You'll have indiv iduals will self agendas attempint to control the police.. I would rtather have a citizen review board for king tony and his group that would be much better.