Police officers were once again in attendance at the regular meeting of Berkeley’s independent police review board Wednesday night, after their absence at prior commission meetings after The Daily Californian published confidential information from the in-custody death case of Kayla Moore.
At the meeting, commissioners reviewed a confidentiality agreement outlining nondisclosure of individual complaints and investigations. The Police Review Commission also discussed taser usage, SUV police vehicles and an instance of alleged discrimination during which police officers arrested several black youth.
Berkeley Police Department Officer David Bartalini represented the police union during the meeting. He urged commissioners to conduct an internal investigation, believing that the leak originated in the commission.
“We’re looking at all our options,” Bartalini said. “Unfortunately, with the leak, trust is at an all-time low.”
The city’s administrative investigation concluded that no city employee in the city manager’s office or PRC was involved in the leak, according to Alison Bernstein, acting chair of the commission.
Although Bartalini said leaking confidential information is a misdemeanor, Bernstein said the law is unclear on the subject.
Commissioner George Perezvelez said members of the commission should review and understand their confidentiality agreement. He also encouraged PRC Officer Katherine Lee to obtain a safe and combination lock to protect confidential documents.
The commission also discussed possible action on the issue of taser use by police. According to Lee, the city will hire an independent third party to investigate its efficacy.
“It should’ve been put to the Mental Health Commission and PRC rather than spending $15,000-20,000 from the general fund,” Perezvelez said about the city’s plan to hire an independent agency to investigate tasers.
Although it was not on the agenda, Bernstein noted her discomfort with SUV police vehicles in the city.
“I think it adds a militaristic component,” Bernstein said. “When I see them in my neighborhood, it’s a much more intimidating feel.”
BPD Lt. Randy Files said the vehicles are technologically better than smaller squad cars and were discussed “ad nauseam” over the last several years before implementation.
During the meeting’s public comment section, an individual who was stopped by police after an instance of jaywalking earlier in the month said the commission’s policies for filing a complaint are unclear.
“If you can see a video of someone being attacked by police, is that enough for you to step up and do something?” said LaTasha Pollard. “It’s not as if there’s commercials saying, ‘Have you been abused by the police? Come to the Police Review Commission.’ ”
In an interview earlier in the month with the Daily Cal, BPD Capt. Andrew Greenwood and spokesperson Officer Jennifer Coats said the individuals were not arrested for jaywalking but for resistance and lack of cooperation with police.
The following letter was sent by City Manager Christine Daniel on Wednesday to the PRC and addresses the status of police participation in PRC interviews and boards of inquiry.
The following letter was sent by Daniel to the PRC earlier this month and requests that the commission take public action affirming its commitment to confidentiality.
A previous version of this article stated that the city’s administrative investigation concluded that no city staff member or commissioner was involved in the leak of confidential documents to the Daily Californian, according to Alison Bernstein. However, Bernstein misspoke. She meant to say that the city’s investigation concluded that no city employee in the city manager’s office or Police Review Commission was involved in the leak.