Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Memphis City Council Considers Revising CLERB Ordinance

Posted By on Tue, May 17, 2016 at 3:40 PM

click to enlarge Worth Morgan
  • Worth Morgan
At the Memphis City Council meeting in two weeks, the council will consider a revised ordinance that ensures the Civilian Law Enforcement Review Board (CLERB) would not have subpoena power.

Memphis City Council member and CLERB board member Worth Morgan proposed the ordinance before the Public Safety Committee Tuesday afternoon, and the committee voted to move the matter to a vote at their next meeting. The CLERB was revived last year (after a long period of inactivity) to investigate civilian complaints about police misconduct. The board doesn't have the power to issue punishments to police officers found guilty of wrongdoing, but it recommend action to the police director.

Morgan wants to make clear in the language of the CLERB ordinance, which was passed by the council in November of last year, that the board cannot subpoena witnesses and documents needed to investigate matters of police misconduct. 

Morgan's amendment would also ensure the CLERB meetings remain open to the public in accordance with the state open meetings law. At the first official CLERB meeting last month, the board went into a closed-door session to discuss the case at hand. Media and the public were asked to leave the room. 

"We may have been in violation of state law when we did that," Morgan told the council.

Morgan would also like to see the council member assigned to CLERB (that's him) stripped of voting power.

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