Civilian Oversight Board | St. Louis Public Radio

Civilian Oversight Board

Nicolle Barton, the executive director of the St. Louis Civilian Oversight Board, talks to Christopher Reichard about the complaint he has just filed with the board. Reichard claims police pepper-sprayed him for no reason while he was protesting the verdi
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Many people demonstrating over former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley’s acquittal of first-degree murder believe the Civilian Oversight Board needs more power.

But they are still being encouraged to file complaints with the board, which helps oversee police discipline.

Heather Highland, Nicolle Barton and Aaron Banks, members of St. Louis' Civilian Oversight Board.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, we heard about the plans for the next steps of the Civilian Oversight Board, whose function it is to investigate complaints made against the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

A two-year-old organization, the group is trying to determine ways to be more effective in investigating claims and improving police-community relations in St. Louis.

Civiliam Oversight Board members line up to get their picture taken after their first meeting in March for ID badges. (File photo)
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Ever since the Civilian Oversight Board was officially established in 2015, the St. Louis Police Officers Association has threatened to sue.

The promised legal action began earlier this month. On Monday, a St. Louis Circuit Court judge will hear arguments on whether the Civilian Oversight Board should be able to access records from internal affairs investigations of St. Louis police officers.

Clara Norise (seated) speaks to Nicolle Barton, the executive director of the Civilian Oversight Board, after the board's meeting on Sept. 19, 2016. Norise was the first person to file a complaint with the board.
File photo | Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

On May 12, Clara Norise made history.

On that date, Norise went to the office of the Civilian Oversight Board and became the first person to file a complaint with the board, which oversees internal affairs investigations. She alleged that a police SWAT team didn't have probable cause when it barged into her house on a drug raid earlier that month, and that it used excessive force in conducting the raid.

On Monday, the board voted not to do its own investigation of the case, and accept the punishment handed down by the Internal Affairs Division. Confidentiality rules prevent the exact nature of the punishment from being made public.

Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed signs legislation creating a civilian oversight board for St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

Updated 9:35 a.m. May 17 with news of first complaint - The Civilian Oversight Board has cleared another major hurdle. On May 9, staff began accepting complaints against St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department officers.

"We're very excited," said Executive Director Nicolle Barton. "We have had a few phone calls already, so we've contacted every one of the individuals and gave them specific instructions on what to do. We're looking for a few people to start coming in."

Civiliam Oversight Board members line up to get their picture taken after their first meeting in March for ID badges. (File photo)
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

The seven St. Louis residents charged with reviewing complaints against St. Louis city police weighed issues of access and neutrality Wednesday during the first official meeting of the Civilian Oversight Board.

While reviewing a draft of board policy, Lawrence Johnson took issue with a provision that would make the executive director the sole point of communication with police.

Nicolle Barton became the executive director of the Civilian Oversight Board on Feb. 8, 2016.
Nathan Rubbelke | St. Louis Public Radio

Though members of her family were in law enforcement, Nicolle Barton entered college to be a nurse.

"But I decided to take a criminal justice class, and I fell in love with the aspect of the system, and how it works, and what we could do to change things, improve things, and help people along the process," said Barton, a native of southern Illinois.

Nicolle Barton is the executive director of the Civilian Oversight Board.
Courtesy of the Office of Mayor Francis Slay

A 15-year veteran of the Missouri Department of Corrections is the first executive director of the St. Louis Civilian Oversight Board.

Nicolle Barton will begin work on Monday, after a selection process that lasted four months. She was one of six finalists for the position and will make at least $63,000.

David Noah Bell, the new nominee for the civilian oversight board's 3rd District, chats with mayoral staffer Patrick Brown after Bell's confirmation hearing on Dec. 9
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

The new civilian oversight board for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department is a step closer to full membership.

The city's public safety committee on Wednesday gave unqualified approval to David Noah Bell, a registered nurse and resident of the 26th Ward. 

Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed signs legislation creating a civilian oversight board for St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

Applicants should have their resumes in to be considered to head the newly formed Civilian Oversight Board.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay signed legislation creating the board back in May. Its seven civilian members will oversee the internal affairs investigations of complaints made about the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, and can in certain circumstances launch its own investigation.

Mayor Francis Slay, at podium, introduces his nominees for the cvilian oversight board. They are, from left, DeBorah Ahmed, Ciera Simril, Heather Highland, Jane Abbott-Morris, Bradley Arteaga, Steve Rovak and Lawrence Johnson.
Sarah Kellogg | St. Louis Public Radio

Update with confirmation - Six of the nominees to the Civilian Oversight Board for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, sailed through Board of Aldermen confirmation Friday. The seventh, DeBorah Ahmed, withdrew her name from consideration.

Ahmed is an executive director at Better Family Life, which has received thousands in city money over the last decade. Her nomination had been criticized for possible conflicts of interest. This means that the mayor will have to find a new nominee for the third district, in north-central and northwest St. Louis.

District Three nominee DeBorah Ahmed talks with District Seven nominee Steve Rovak after Mayor Francis Slay announced their nominations in August.
Sarah Kellogg | St. Louis Public Radio

Members of the public get a chance Tuesday night to express their opinions about the nominees for St. Louis’ new police civilian oversight board.

The audience will not get to question the potential board members directly.

Mayor Francis Slay, at podium, introduces his nominees for the cvilian oversight board. They are, from left, DeBorah Ahmed, Ciera Simril, Heather Highland, Jane Abbott-Morris, Bradley Arteaga, Steve Rovak and Lawrence Johnson.
Sarah Kellogg | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay says his nominations for the city's first Civilian Oversight Board will help reduce crime by improving the relationships police have with the community. He introduced his nominees Thursday in his office by saying they reflect the diversity of the city and have the best interest of St. Louis and the police department in mind.

“The most important priority in our city now, is to reduce crime. I believe that civilian involvement in our police department is a key component of our comprehensive approach to reducing crime,” Slay said. 

Jamala Rogers (bottom left) and John Chasnoff (bottom right) after the civilian oversight board they have championed for 30 years received initial approval on April 15, 2015
File photo | Katelyn Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

The process of getting the new St. Louis police civilian oversight board up and running has taken another small step forward.

(via Flickr/mike matney)

The city of St. Louis will soon have a civilian oversight board. And, new police cameras in the city aim to reduce crime, but do they infringe on privacy?

Those were just two of the topics before our legal roundtable guests, our monthly show that takes a look at relevant issues pertaining to the law.

Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed signs legislation creating a civilian oversight board for St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

More than 30 years of work by city aldermen and activists paid off Monday, as the St. Louis Board of Aldermen approved a civilian oversight board for the city's police department.

Applause broke out in the chambers as President Lewis Reed announced the 17-8 vote. Two members voted present, and one alderman did not vote at all.

Jamala Rogers (bottom left) and John Chasnoff (bottom right) after the civilian oversight board they have championed for 30 years received initial approval on April 15, 2015
File photo | Katelyn Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

Legislation that would bring more civilian oversight to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department is a step closer to Mayor Francis Slay's desk.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen gave the measure creating the civilian oversight board initial approval Wednesday on a voice vote. No exact roll call was taken, though some aldermen did object.

Mary Ellen Ponder
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

On this edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann welcome Mary Ellen Ponder to the show. 

Ponder was recently appointed chief of staff for St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, replacing Jeff Rainford. She is the first woman to serve as chief of staff for a St. Louis mayor.

St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

On a special edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio reporters Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann preview Tuesday’s election in St. Louis.

gavel court justice
sxc.hu

Updated Feb. 25

St. Louis circuit attorney Jennifer Joyce has withdrawn her subpoena of St. Louis Public Radio. The station was subpoenaed at the end of January after a conflict broke out during a Public Safety Committee hearing at St. Louis City Hall.

Terry Kennedy and John Chasnoff chat after committee approval of a civilian oversight bill on February 9.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Six months to the day after Michael Brown was shot and killed in Ferguson, a measure that would add an extra layer of public oversight to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department cleared its first legislative hurdle. 

The 8-1 vote by the city Board of Aldermen's public safety committee wrapped up months of negotiations between activists, aldermen and Mayor Francis Slay, as well as three lengthy and often contentious hearings by the public safety committee. Here's how members voted:

St. Louis Public Radio

The legality of granting subpoena power to a proposed civilian police review board has little bearing on St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay’s opposition to it. Slay said Friday that he would veto a civilian review board bill that includes subpoena power no matter what the city’s charter allows.

Slay is co-sponsor of a civilian oversight bill that does not include the power to subpoena witnesses and documents. Aldermen Antonio French proposed a second bill Thursday during a public safety committee meeting that would include subpoena power.

Police and protesters scuffle after police union business manager Jeff Roorda allegedly grabbed a protester at a January 28 meeting oh the public safety committee.
Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 11:55 a.m. Thursday with comments from the St. Louis police.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department has released the following statement:

"A police report with multiple complainants has been filed relative to the incident that occurred during last night's public hearing at City Hall.  There is an ongoing investigation to determine what occurred. " 

Our original story

Long-time St. Louis Alderwoman Phyllis Young announced Friday that she will be stepping down next week.

Young, a Democrat, has been the alderwoman for the 7th Ward for nearly 30 years, making her the longest serving alderman. Her ward encompasses parts of downtown and Soulard.

"After much soul searching and discussions with family and friends, I have decided that 29-plus years is enough," Young wrote to her colleagues.

St. Louis Public Radio

This story will be updated. Updated at 1:45 p.m. with comments from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will take the first step Friday toward the creation of a civilian oversight board for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.