To: Mayor and City Council of El Cerrito
Time for Police Oversight and Change
We, residents of El Cerrito, demand that the City Council take immediate action on police reform. It is essential to reimagine how the police force supports safety in El Cerrito. The following 8 demands reflect the nationwide call for justice for George Floyd and all other victims of violence at the hands of police. Every community is different, but these demands speak to the specific issues of policing in El Cerrito.
1. Increase El Cerrito police transparency and accountability.
Sign up for the California Police Scoreboard (which includes reporting on arrests,
and police use of force (lethal and less lethal)--broken out by race and other
Make police misconduct records easily accessible by the public.
Require City Council approval for police department purchase of any military style
equipment (including armored carriers, guns, tasers, flash bangs, sound cannons,
2. Establish an effective civilian oversight board with investigative and subpoena
Create and publicize easily accessible methods for civilians to submit, view, and discuss complaints.
Ensure civilian oversight board has the power to interrogate officers, access crime scenes, subpoena witnesses and files with penalties for non-compliance, make disciplinary and policy recommendations to the police chief and prosecuting attorney, and compel the police chief and prosecuting attorney to explain why they have not followed a recommendation.
Ensure that the civilian oversight board excludes current or retired law enforcement from membership.
3. Respond to mental health crises and non-violent social issues with healthcare and social work, not policing responses.
Establish non-police interventions to crises involving homelessness, intoxication, disorientation, substance abuse, and mental health.
4.Invest in healthy communities not policing.
Decrease police department budgets, at minimum, proportionally to other City budget cuts.
Actively explore alternative solutions for funding education, healthcare, jobs, and housing for the parts of El Cerrito hardest hit by crime, police violence, and over-incarceration, with quarterly reporting to El Cerrito City Council.
In addition to funding and actively advocating for education, healthcare, jobs and housing for those most impacted, commit funding other programs that truly contribute to community health, such as climate justice for all.
5. Strengthen police use-of-force policies to protect human life and rights.
Limit the use of deadly force to situations where there is an imminent threat of death or serious injury and require officers to exhaust all other measures before resorting to deadly force.
Implement a civilian board review of all use of force reports to ensure compliance.
Ban no-knock warrants, and pass an El Cerrito Breonna’s Law.
Prohibit or limit the use of military style equipment & surveillance equipment (including armored carriers, guns, tasers, flash bangs, sound cannons, drones, etc).
Change police regulations to require de-escalation to be tried first.
Make not reporting an observed excessive use of force or other serious violation of departmental policy a fireable offense for police officers.
6. End ‘broken windows’ policing and stop unnecessary prosecution of low-level offenses.
Decrease rates of arrest and incarceration by decriminalizing activities that pose no threat to public safety including, but not limited to, disorderly conduct, trespassing, loitering, marijuana possession, disturbing the peace, petty theft, fare evasion, and other misdemeanor offenses.
Take action to prevent racial profiling and police interventions solely based on "suspicion" of one’s Blackness or other aspects of identity.
7. Do away with unfair protections for officers in police union contracts and Law Enforcement Officers’ ‘Bills of Rights.’
Remove provisions that create barriers to effective misconduct investigations and civilian oversight of police activity, including officers’ disciplinary history.
Remove provisions that require or allow officers who kill or seriously injure people to continue to be paid while they are under investigation or on suspension.
8. End the profit motive in policing.
Confirm whether there are any El Cerrito Police Department quotas for tickets and end any quotas.
Clarify and strengthen civil and criminal forfeiture restrictions to prohibit police from seizing money and property from individuals unless they are convicted of a crime and there is clear and convincing evidence that the property is related to the crime.
Prohibit police from keeping any property that has legally been forfeited (instead, this property should go to a general fund).
Require police departments to bear the cost of misconduct by requiring settlements to be paid out of the police department budget rather than the city’s general fund.
Why is this important?
It is time to reimagine how the police force supports safety in El Cerrito.This petition, based on the Color of Change platform, is a call to action for our City government to examine policing, especially around transparency, use of force, and addressing racial disparity. Join us in demanding a safer El Cerrito for us all.