Enough Is Enough disagrees with City Council in regards to an important legal issue concerning the Police Accountability Board. City Council maintains that NYS Civil Service Law Article 75 prohibits the proposed Police Accountability Board from having the authority to discipline Rochester Police Department officers for misconduct. And it is essential that the power to discipline police officers for misconduct is taken away from the Rochester Police Chief and given to an independent body that can fairly apply discipline without conflicts of interest.
Article 75 clearly states that the authority to discipline police officers is held by the “officer [read Police Chief] or body.” We believe that the stipulation that a “body” can administer discipline includes a body such as the Police Accountability Board, which will be made up of community representatives trained in investigating and assessing cases of police misconduct. It is our belief that City Council’s interpretation of Article 75 is informed more by conventional wisdom developed through a history of giving the Rochester Police Chief this authority in stead of being informed by an adequate review the laws on the books.
City Council is currently seeking an independent legal opinion with an unknown law firm. We are interested in seeking our own legal opinion on the interpretation of Article 75. We think it is important to get our own legal opinion because we cannot know for sure that the law firm City Council will use is truly independent. Many independent contractors City Council uses in similar circumstance are also used by the Rochester Police Department, which is a conflict of interest. The interpretation of this law is so important for the PAB that it should not be left to chance.
We are asking for donations to contribute to the cost of obtaining this legal opinion. The opinion is likely to cost $5000. Any money donated above the donation goal will be used for general expenses for the PAB advocacy campaign, such as paying for venues and PAB advertisement material.