DRACO, Open Meetings Act, Oversight, Police Commission

BOPC Doubles Down on Illegal Meetings

The majority of the BOPC voted against Commissioner Burton’s motion to stop breaking the law…

Detroit, MI – The Board of Police Commissioners, as a body, has gone on record as opposing compliance with this law. On August 29th Fifth District Commissioner Willie E. Burton made a motion to comply with the Open Meetings Act by changing the venue to a location where persons would not be required to identify themselves as a condition of entry. The motion was seconded by First District Commissioner Darryl D. Brown. The motion failed with only Seventh District Commissioner William Davis joining Burton and Brown in support of compliance. The remaining commissioners present voted against compliance. They were Chair Sixth District Commissioner Lisa Carter, Co-Chair Commissioner Eva Garza Dewaelsche, Third District Commissioner Shirley A. Burch and Fourth District Commissioner Willie E. Bell. At-large Commissioners Elizabeth Brooks and Annie Holt also voted against compliance. At-large Commissioner Rev. Jim Holley, PhD and Second District Commissioner Evette Griffie were absent at the time of the aforementioned vote.

The following statement was in a News Release that went out on August 7th.

Community Activists To Hold Press Conference On Illegal BOPC Meetings

Detroit, MI – For the past few years most Board of Police Commissioner (BOPC) meetings have been at the Public Safety Headquarters at 1301 Third Street.  In order to attend those meetings, security requires community members to present identification.  Now some of those community members are crying foul.

Detroit Residents Advancing Civilian Oversight (DRACO) Founder Scotty Boman and Michigan National Action Network (NAN) Vice President Lori Parks Will be making comments and answering questions before the meeting of the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners which starts at 6:00 PM on Thursday August 8th.  Both Parks and Boman have been repeatedly denied entry to BOPC meetings at the headquarters in spite of asserting their rights under the Michigan Open Meetings Act. The Charter of the City of Detroit requires the Board of Police Commissioners to comply with the Michigan Open Meetings Act.

According to the Michigan Open Meetings Act 267 of 1976. Section 15.263. Sec. 3. (4):

“A person shall not be required as a condition of attendance at a meeting of a public body to register or otherwise provide his or her name or other information or otherwise to fulfill a condition precedent to attendance.”

At their June 27th meeting ACLU Attorney Ralph Simpson informed the Commissioners of this portion of the law during public comments. He said he assumed they were unaware of the law, but from that point forward they should consider themselves notified.

“It is blatantly irrational and absurd for an organization that is charged with the civilian oversight of law enforcement, to brazenly and willfully conspire to commit crimes on a routine basis.”

At their meeting on August 1st Boman informed them that there were significant criminal penalties for their actions and that commissioners wishing to distance themselves from the violations should make motions to end the practice.  The portion cited by Boman read:

“15.272 Violation as misdemeanor; penalty.
Sec. 12. (1) A public official who intentionally violates this act is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000.00.
(2) A public official who is convicted of intentionally violating a provision of this act for a second time within the same term shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined not more than $2,000.00, or imprisoned for not more than 1 year, or both.”

 

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