City Council in Boulder votes to overrule Police Oversight Selection Committee
May 4th, 2023
Tonight’s Boulder City Council vote to interfere with police oversight was unlawful and unethical. The police union, the police foundation, and anti-homeless hate groups have pushed an overly politicized city council into breaking their own laws. The council’s action is a clear case of political expedience prevailing over the law.
The Police Oversight Panel first presented their appointments for new members to Boulder City Council on December 15th, 2022. In the months since, the oversight panel has reaffirmed those selections repeatedly at the request of city council and the new panel members have begun their work.
Boulder City Council has repeatedly delayed appointments, acted on inappropriate complaint filings, and accepted cursory and inaccurate work from an outside counsel with no experience in the issues at hand. Our elected body has allowed this process to become a circus, to the detriment of the movement for more just and fair policing in Boulder.
Boulder is not exceptional in its policing. Our city has the same issues and problems here that exist nationwide. People across Boulder have been harmed by police. The city has paid out more than a million dollars to victims of police, and every month more complaints are filed.
By overruling the voices of NAACP Boulder County and El Centro Amistad, the City of Boulder is silencing the very community members the Police Oversight Panel was created to elevate. Doing so in this instance is particularly destructive because the process of selecting new members to the Police Oversight Panel was designed to invite into the conversation traditionally-marginalized constituencies.
The Boulder City Council is now slamming shut the door that the ordinance creating the Police Oversight Panel cracked open, reaffirming Boulder’s long history of exclusion. Boulder City Council must be held accountable and must answer for this overreach.
The members of the Boulder Police Oversight Panel are dedicated people who are doing important work. Our city owes it to the oversight panel to ensure that their work is supported, the damage done by the city is repaired, and the independence of the oversight panel is codified moving forward.
The vote this evening to remove Lisa Sweeney-Miran from the police oversight panel was taken despite Boulder City Council having neither cause nor authority to act.
The city has broken their own laws, violated due process, and trampled on the first amendment. While this vote is over, we are not done with this fight.
Lisa Sweeney-Miran, Dan Williams