Police Accountability Board director on administrative leave, City Council President cites HR complaints

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ROCHESTER N.Y. (WHEC) — The Police Accountability Board announced on Friday that it placed its executive director, Conor Dwyer Reynolds, on administrative leave.

The PAB couldn’t comment on why Reynolds is on leave but they did provide this statement:

"As a matter of policy, the City of Rochester – including the Police Accountability Board – does not discuss ongoing employee-related complaints or investigations. It is important that these matters are fully vetted to ensure a fair and complete understanding of all relevant information and to be certain that employee confidentiality and trust are not compromised.”

Reynolds, a Rochester native who previously worked as a lawyer at Yale Law School, became the first director of the PAB in November of 2021.

A statement from Rochester City Council President Miguel Meléndez said there have been "a number of Human Resource related complaints that have emerged in recent days." Meléndez said he sent the following suggestions to the Police Accountability Board to "to make City Council and my expectations crystal clear.":

  1. Our office determined the responsible course of action was to seek an outside legal firm with expertise in Human Resource matters to investigate these allegations, issue a report detailing their findings, and provide recommendations to the Board. City Council should receive a copy of the investigation’s findings as soon as it is issued. Until that investigation is completed and those findings are issued, the Board must proceed with the utmost caution to ensure all staff involved in this matter are afforded their right to privacy and protection as employees of the City.
  2. I supported the suspension of the Executive Director while this issue is investigated, and I appreciated the Board’s quick action in that regard. City Council staff will be a resource to the Board in the interim.
  3. I offered the opportunity for the Chief of Staff of City Council to provide administrative support to the PAB while this investigation is ongoing and strongly encourage the Board to take us up on this offer.

Meléndez also said "This matter is larger than one person and requires a thorough investigation. The Council looks forward to the PAB moving this process forward and understanding the validity of these allegations."

The Police Accountability Board Alliance released the following statement late Friday afternoon:

"The Police Accountability Board Alliance (the Alliance) is aware that the Police Accountability Board (PAB) placed its Executive Director, Conor Dwyer Reynolds, on administrative leave today. We have no further information at this time. The Alliance is in solidarity with the PAB as an independent institution of police accountability in Rochester, and rejects any effort in local government to obstruct its independence or reduce its funding.

"We are confident that a thorough and fair investigation will be conducted to resolve this situation. The Alliance will have no further comment until there is a resolution.

"The PAB was voted into law, via referendum in 2019, when 75% of the electorate agreed that there needed to be an oversight mechanism, with substantive powers, to address police misconduct.

"The Alliance is a coalition of local Rochester community groups responsible for nominating 4 of the 9 sitting members of the Police Accountability Board. We also advocate for the Board’s full and independent functioning as stated in the City Charter and as demanded by the people of Rochester in a 2019 referendum. We are passionate about reforming our unjust criminal justice system and checking the historically rampant abuse of power inflicted by the Rochester Police Department."

The Rochester Police Locust Club, the union that represents rank-and-file RPD officers, released the following statement:

“The lack of information from the Police Accountability Board into the internal investigation of the Executive Director is incredibly hypocritical for an organization whose mission statement revolves around transparency. Our membership has seen all their personal information immediately disclosed whenever there is even a hint of wrongdoing or even in cases where all policies were followed. Even when the process allows for a confidential and fair process, police officers are not afforded the benefit of a City policy to “not discuss” employee investigations. The only thing more glaring is the lack of City Council members calling for PAB transparency and the termination of accused individuals. This Council has shown that, if the accused were a uniformed police officer, they would forego all the officers’ rights and immediately demonize them before any investigation took place.”