Nearly three months after Boston Mayor Thomas Menino announced plans for a panel to review civilian complaints of police misconduct, the mayor has yet to appoint anyone, says the Boston Globe. He is under fire from civil rights activists who are calling for transparency in the search for panel members. “It’s a farce,” said Leonard Alkins of the NAACP. “A civilian review panel should be independent. This is controlled by the mayor.”
Officials would not disclose details of a report submitted to the city by Northeastern University in January. It was commissioned by former Police Commissioner Kathleen O’Toole in 2004 after the death of a 21-year-old college student killed by police with pepper-pellet guns trying to control a crowd of Red Sox revelers. The report, which the Globe obtained, is critical of the lack of transparency in police civilian complaint procedures and recommends a high degree of community oversight of civilians appointed to review police complaints. It warns that panel members could be seen as “inside players” if they do not report directly to the community.