The Police Accountability Board, or PAB, discussed the selection process of its incoming director at its regular Wednesday meeting.
During an initial public comment period, community members expressed concern over the selection process of the new director of police accountability, or DPA. Commenters also urged the PAB to better involve the public during its meetings, expressing a desire for more public input in the board’s decisions.
“Something is rotten in the city of Berkeley,” one public commenter said at the meeting. “That quote is adapted from Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ and I’m applying it to the process of choosing the new DPA.”
Public commenters noted the establishment of the PAB over the previous Police Review Commission was intended to make the board more independent from the city. However, some alleged that the city manager has “taken over the selection process.”
They noted that they would like other individuals to raise objections to the alleged “illegitimate process.”
Following the public comment section, board member Deborah Levine discussed updates regarding the PAB’s role in the selection process. In a previous meeting, the PAB discussed an information request that was sent to the city manager, seeking detailed information on the PAB’s selection process.
“One of our complaints had to do with getting materials in advance of the panels,” Levine said. “We did get materials in advance.”
Levine added that they and board member John Moore participated in interviews for the director’s selection and made recommendations. Levine said to “stay tuned.”
During the final public comment portion, a “concerned” resident noted that the adjournment time is 11 p.m. and added that they felt as if their voice was not being heard.
They emphasized they wanted to speak during an old business item but that they didn’t get a chance and called for the board to consider attendees, noting that they have been sitting for “a good two and a half hours.”
“I will remind the board that before you vote on any action, the chair and vice-chair have to open up the public comment portion and hear from the community,” they said at the meeting. “I’m an uncle to a soon-to-be high schooler and I’m trying to teach him how to stand up for himself in public settings.”