Detroit, MI – Scotty Boman and members of Detroit Residents Advancing Civilian Oversight (DRACO) have had a difficult time getting Detroit’s Board of Police Commissioners to comply with the law.
On Thursday July 18th Boman was illegally denied admittance to the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners meeting; they insisted that he show a photo ID to enter. According to Boman, “The Detroit Board of Police Commissioners has been violating the open meetings act at every meeting it has held in the DPD Headquarters.” 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.
According to DPD security officer Randy Moore (Who was the person tasked with checking identification at the entrance), “A thousand people can read the same book and have five different opinions; it’s just like reading the Bible. I can read the same law and have two different instances of the law… If you don’t have ID you can’t get in the building. If you don’t have ID you’re not going to the meeting. If you don’t have ID you can’t go past the steps….”
Boman recorded the full interaction and posted it online.
Boman filed a complaint with the Chief investigator, and plans to join other community members in a complaint to the attorney general. Litigation is also a possibility. In spite of this, the Board of Police Commissioner has continued to violate the law by having security demand identification from attendees at their July 25th meeting, many of whom complied under protest.
On August 11th some DRACO members showed up wearing veils and masks to protest the unrestricted use of facial recognition technology by the Detroit Police Department. When one Commissioner, Willie Burton, attempted to speak out on the matter Chairperson Lisa Carter called for his removal, resulting in the arrest and injury of the Commissioner. “This is part of a pattern of disrespect for the community they claim to represent,” said Boman.
They think the laws don’t apply to them, and the leadership has no problem using force to silence commissioners who dare side with the community by calling on the Board to respect legal limitations on their power. Now they are trying to squelch public comments by limiting comments to those who make reservations when the meeting starts.
The Board of Police Commissioners meets each Thursday at 1301 Third Avenue, Detroit, MI at 3:00 PM with the exception of the second Thursday. On the second Thursday of each month they meet at a location in the community around 6:30 PM.