Activists say it’s a tricky maneuver.
Groups including the ACLU and NAACP have long supported local control of police. But Chair of the Organization for Black Struggle, Montague Simmons, says Proposition A would undercut transparency and citizen oversight.
“The banner head that they’re using for local control, we built credibility for,” Simmons says. “People understand it and they identify directly with citizen review. They identify it with accountability and transparency. Absent that, people will be buying in to something they can’t live with.”
John Chasnoff, a program director with the ACLU, takes issue with the thought that the local control plan can be tweaked down the road.
“We think that’s a really bad idea because in order to fix it we have to go back up to Jeff City where we fought all these years just to get some kind of recognition for St. Louis,” Chasnoff says.
On the flip side, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and other supporters of Proposition A say it will make the police department more accountable to residents.
Supporters of Proposition A showed up during the demonstration.
Whitfield Montgomery is with A Safer Missouri, a group in favor of Proposition A that’s funded by retired investor Rex Sinquefield.
“When it comes to the City of St. Louis, the citizens are going to be involved," Montgomery says. "I mean, being on the state level the citizens don’t have any input on what’s going on.”
The St. Louis Police Officers Association has lobbied against similar plans in the past, but says it is not opposed to Proposition A.
Follow Tim Lloyd on Twitter: @TimSLloyd