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Neighborhoods Briefed on Police Panels

Local leaders look back on the first year of civilian oversight of city police.

The administrator for two civilian review panels for Sarasota Police briefed the Coalition of City Neighborhood Associations Saturday morning on the first year of citizen oversight of city police.

Peter Graham oversees two police oversight panels:

  • The Independent Police Advisory Panel meets once every three months, and is concerned with general policy. The five-member board is looking at domestic violence, and how to assist City Commissioner Willie Shaw’s initiatives to fight crime in Newtown. The group will meet next on Jan. 13 at Sarasota City Hall.
  • The Police Complaint Committee meets monthly to review how internal affairs investigates complaints about police conduct. “It has had six meetings, and looked at 22 reports. Generally speaking they’ve found the investigations were competent and professional,” Graham said. The complaint committee is looking at a series of proposals to present to Police Chief Mikel Holloway. Its next meeting is Jan. 17 at the Federal Building conference room, Orange Avenue.

“Both groups (offer) opportunities for citizens to come forward and speak,” said Graham. His office also receives citizen complaints, which it forwards to the police internal investigations department.

Graham’s telephone number is 951-3622.

“As I look back over the past eight months, I’m struck by one fact: Most of the matters that come up for scrutiny, if restraint had been applied on both sides, we (would) have no need for an expensive investigation,” said Graham. “My message to the community is restraint, restraint, restraint.”

John Souce, representative of Park East on the city’s north side, asked: “Why are we sending ?” One of Commissioner Shaw’s ideas is to take police and community leaders to High Point, N.C., for a case-study look at how a similar-sized community beat a crime wave. Graham said, “It does seem to me the situation in Newtown requires us to take every possible action to put it right. If it takes a trip up there, let’s have it done.”

Valerie Buchand with the Janie Poe Neighborhood Association in Newtown was not impressed with the effort so far. “The one time I visited your meeting, it was pathetic to me.  You had this arrogant police officer talking, making derogatory statements about the citizens, and nobody around the table voiced any concern,” she said. “I’m totally in the dark about what you’re supposed to be doing.”

Graham said: “I don’t think the (City) Commission set up the complaints committee as a court of appeal. We have to do our business the way it is being done now.”

Graham urged greater community involvement in both panels, and was supported by Linda Holland from Gillespie Park. “I have attended both of the panel meetings. Often I’m the only person there,” she said. “The community needs to be more involved.”

Graham will offer a similar presentation to the Sarasota City Commission later this spring.

FED UP WITH CRIMINALS January 08, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Isn’t it rather odd…that there were 22 complaints reviewed and the committee agreed that Internal Affairs had investigated all of the complaints, and found them to have been done correctly, competently, and professionally? What qualifications do ordinary citizens have to be able to tell whether or not the investigations were done correctly or not? When three officers brutalized me in 2008, Internal Affairs didn’t want to see my evidence of the incident that I got from the surveillance camera on the private property where the disgraceful act took place. To top it off, IA claimed that the only thing the officer did wrong was that he didn’t do an itemized list of what was in my vehicle before they had it towed away, which was another complaint I had, because my vehicle shouldn’t have been towed because I was where I was supposed to be, I arrived at my destination. When I picked my vehicle up from the tow yard there were things missing, such as money and a cell phone which the tow co. is notorious for doing and the police are well aware of their stealing but they still use this tow co., can we say possible kickback here. Maybe the officer got a slap on the hand or not, what took place deserved a reprimand not equivalent to a child taking a cookie from the cookie jar when they weren’t supposed to. What an embarrassment on all parts of the city of Sarasota police department.
FED UP WITH CRIMINALS January 08, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Contd...One of my issues with IA is that they seen nothing wrong with the three city workers that are supposed to protect the citizens of Sarasota, when they throw them around and injure them for life with no hope for the injury to ever be fixed. The IA Lieutenant, refused to look at the video evidence I had after he couldn’t figure out how to put the disc into the computer and play it. I offered to show him and he got angry, and said not to touch the computer and gave me back the disc. What sort of an investigation was that? IA made no effort to ask anything about the police brutality complaint I was trying to get someone at the station to listen to, including the chief at the time. How horrific for the only thing that the Lieutenant was angry over, was that I was going to help him work the evidence disc, and not the fact that three cops violated me. What a useless bunch of city workers our tax dollars paid for.
FED UP WITH CRIMINALS January 08, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Contd...IA refused to believe that three of their own were still up to no good even after the FBI, and Hillsborough County had to come and investigate the station regarding Juan Perez and when he was brutalized near the sally port at the station downtown Sarasota the same year. The rookie and the two undercover cops in my case didn’t even try to hide their civil rights violation when they put their hands on me while pulling me out of the back of the prisoner transport vehicle in handcuffs. I am a female and at the time I was as 50, maybe weighing 130 pounds, only 5 ft. 2, and with physical disabilities. I guess I was a threat to the three men, one in uniform with a gun. I am not sure if the two undercover cops had firearms on them or not, because I was rather busy trying to figure out for no apparent reason other than getting their jollies, why I was being abused and thrown in and out of the transport vehicle for doing nothing to begin with other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time and having a rookie cop calling the shots. Oh excuse me, they are not men, because real men don’t do things like what all three of them did, violate my civil rights and abuse a woman. I guess they missed class the day they were learning about morals, ethics, and standards.
FED UP WITH CRIMINALS January 08, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Contd...Here we are today, and now the state of Florida has to answer to me, my attorney, and the public, why nothing was done at the time and how nothing has changed in Sarasota as far as the corruption taking place. The three officers that did this nasty act, one in uniform and two undercover officers, all thought they were having fun at my expense as the video will show once the public also sees it. I plan on having a police complaint committee myself and will collect stories from the many people that I have encountered over the years with similar stories and inform the public as to how the police department really works in covering up their embarrassment for officers, and their unacceptable actions that hurt the citizens they are paid to protect.
FED UP WITH CRIMINALS January 08, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Conclusion...Not all of the police officers in the city of Sarasota are bad, rogue cops, in fact there are plenty of officers that are good at their jobs and serve the community, not abuse it. This article mentions restraint, restraint, restraint on both sides, which I find rather amusing, because it makes it sound as if the victim of police brutality should restrain themselves. In my case and many others, the only restraint that was needed was on the part of the officers, which my video will show that they were at fault 100%. It is really sad and wrong, that when there is a problem, the review board thinks it’s acceptable to have someone from the same station or other people from the same county investigate occurrences/incidents, such as police brutality. We need real citizens in this committee, not people that don’t have a clue as to what is considered wrong, and make sure they don’t have any pockets in their clothes.
Sharon Anthony January 08, 2012 at 03:06 PM
That police brutality exists is a no brainer. That racial profiling exists is a no brainer. That DWB is an offence is a no brainer. More parents should raise their children w respect for others, empathy, adherence to law and order, and a desire to help other people. Encourage the morally intact youth to become police. Not the morally inept. It's not the greatest job in the world. It doesn't pay all that well. But, if we want GOOD cops, we're going to have to produce them.
FED UP WITH CRIMINALS January 08, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Hi Sharon, the only thing wrong with your theory to work, is when there are instances such as…The rookie I mentioned, is the son of one of the officers at the same station. Daddy dearest, was investigated for withholding some evidence when Juan Perez got beat up. How could this father, being an officer of the law, teach his son what is right and how to treat people with respect, when he himself has lost credibility and showed that he was willing to cover up a really bad wrong, in order to keep his brothers in blue safe from investigation? Now that is a no brainer…Speaking of no brainers, here is what the qualifications are to become an officer of the law in Sarasota, Florida. Basic Requirements…There are also basic qualifications that must be achieved to be considered for employment. You must be a United States citizen who is at least 21 years of age. You must have a valid driver's license. Once you are employed by the Sarasota police department you must have a Florida driver's license. Your vision must be at least 20/100 uncorrected in each eye, as well as being correctable to at least 20/30 in each eye. You must have no misdemeanor convictions that include perjury, moral turpitude or a false statement, and you must have no felony convictions. If you were in the military, you must have an honorable discharge.

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