On Thursday, November 19, 2020, the Wilmington City Council voted 10-1, with one absent vote, to pass a proposed ordinance that will amend Chapter 35 of the City Code and create a Citizen Complaint Review Board (CCRB) in the city. Our statement on this piece of legislation is below.
This statement is attributable to Mike Brickner, executive director of the ACLU of Delaware.
“Building an effective civilian review board isn’t an easy task, but Wilmington City Council’s commitment to moving ahead with this kind of police accountability effort is a significant step in the right direction.
The Wilmington Citizen Complaint Review Board will be Delaware’s first civilian review board required by law. The CCRB will provide an external check on police and a community-led voice to identify solutions to police practices in Wilmington. This kind of oversight is long overdue, and absolutely vital to police reform in our state.
The work won’t stop here. More changes are needed at the state level to ensure full transparency and autonomy of the CCRB. We relaunched our Vote Smart Justice effort earlier this year to focus on electing officials who are committed to police reform, and we will continue to fight to ensure that those elected officials stay true to their promises of holding police accountable, ending police violence, and protecting and serving those who live in the communities in their care.”
Learn more about the CCRB ordinance below.
In the wake of horrific acts of police brutality this year, people around the country and here in Delaware have been marching, protesting, organizing, and advocating with a rally cry to bring an end to systemic racism in policing and for police accountability and transparency.
Earlier this year, Wilmington City Council proposed legislation for its own civilian review board, the Wilmington Citizen Complaint Review Board (CCRB). The proposed CCRB would be able to review civilian complaints against law enforcement officers and conduct investigations, hold hearings, make findings and issue reports to the Mayor of Wilmington, Chief of Police, and Wilmington City Council. The group would also be able to make those findings and reports available to the public, through a CCRB website. This proposed ordinance is now up for a vote on the city council floor this Thursday, November 19, 2020.
We sent a letter to the city council in support of this proposed ordinance, with some recommendations for making the proposed ordinance even stronger.
Building an effective civilian review board isn't an easy task. Even if this legislation passes there will be more work to do to ensure that the CCRB can function effectively in the face of state law obstacles – but the proposed ordinance is a significant step in the right direction, and all city council members should stand with their constituents and support this effort to expand police accountability in Delaware's largest city.