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Statement From Councilmember Robert White on Advancing Metro Police Civilian Police Complaint Board

Today, the DC Council voted to create a civilian police complaint board for the Metro Transit Police Department (MTPD). Creating an MTPD civilian police complaint board to allow residents to have complaints about the use of force and other concerns heard by independent reviewers has been a priority for me over the past year. Creating the civilian review board requires amending the WMATA interstate compact, so Maryland and Virginia must pass similar provisions, and Congress must agree for it to take effect. I am prepared to work with my regional colleagues to get this done.

You may remember that I held an oversight hearing on policing communities of color last November with Councilmember Allen following a series of viral videos showing MTPD using excessive force on children and residents. At that hearing, several witnesses and I called on WMATA to create a civilian police complaint board, similar to the Police Complaints Board we have in place for the Metro Police Department. 

Last month, my Committee included a Budget Support Act provision to create a civilian police complaint board for MTPD in our budget. Unfortunately, it was removed, but over the last few days, I worked with Councilmember Allen to include this provision in his Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Second Emergency Act of 2020 that we passed today. 

My goal for the hearing last November was to begin a productive conversation about experiences people of color have with law enforcement and how we can improve this relationship. We have to move now from philosophical conversations about racial equity and justice to making equity happen. Today, we have done just that.

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