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STL police board approves civilian review board

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – The St. Louis police board approved a plan to create a civilian review board to investigate alleged police misconduct.

The approved plan authorizes the civilian review board to evaluate citizen complaints after the police department's Internal Affairs division conducts its own investigation.

That rankles activists who backed an aldermanic bill they said gave the review board full independence.

The Coalition Against Police Crimes and Repression says the previous bill gave the panel complete independence. The coalition's Zaki Baruti says this action negates the public will.

"It's a slap in the face of those alderpersons," Baruti said. "This present police board needs to be dissolved, and the whole police department needs to be in the hands of the people."

The state of Missouri actually controls the St. Louis police department. Baruti says his group will step up efforts to return that control to the city.

But supporters hail the plan as a progressive step previously unseen in Missouri.

Mayor Francis Slay vetoed that bill last month. He says the new version is balanced and fair:

"Fair to those who are making complaints against police officers but also one that is fair to the police officers," Slay said.

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