Police Accountability Board will hold emergency meeting on Thursday amid turmoil
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The Police Accountability Board is having an emergency meeting on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. but they didn’t specify what they will be discussing. It’s the latest move in the internal issues going on within the board.
The Police Accountability Board on Wednesday requested the state attorney general’s office launch a full investigation into former executive director Conor Dwyer Reynolds.
The PAB says it is concerned that following his suspension in May, Reynolds has interfered with the city’s investigation against him. There are two pressing issues, the investigation into the suspended executive director and waves of staff members who have been fired, suspended or quit.
The letter written by staff members to the board says the PAB is plagued with harassment, intimidation, retaliation and confusion. Taxpayers are paying for this operation, and there has been concern about the PAB’s work for 6 months.
More of our coverage:
- More internal strife at Police Accountability Board amid accusations against acting manager (Oct 12)
- Some Rochester City Council members say they didn’t know a PAB member was put on leave (Oct 7)
- PAB loses another member; deputy chief of community engagement fired on Friday (Oct 7)
- Another top Police Accountability Board leader gets suspended (Oct 6)
- PAB wants your input on police disciplinary “matrix” (Oct 4)
- Suspended director of Police Accountability Board loses lawsuit that aimed to reinstate him (Sept 22)
- 111 reports filed with Police Accountability Board in first 30 days (July 20)
- PAB Alliance voices concerns over nomination and budget (June 22)
- PAB Board Chair submits resignation (June 10)
- Police Accountability Board Chair accused of sexual harassment (June 7)
- Police Accountability Board will start taking complaints in June (May 27)
- City councilmembers question PAB and what they are doing with their time (May 24)
The most memorable question to the PAB came from city council member Willie Lightfoot last May.
Brean: At a city council hearing you asked the Police Accountability Board…
Willie Lightfoot, May 24: What do you guys do over there?
Brean: Are you wondering what they’re doing now with all these firings and resignations?
Lightfoot: Yeah, absolutely. The question still remains: what are you doing and what are you not doing is really the question.
Since June 20th, the PAB says it’s received close to 200 complaints against Rochester police, which have turned into at least 80 investigations. Two days after I interviewed chief of policy and oversight Mike Higgins last week, he was suspended and then fired. And so was the deputy chief of community engagement.
Lightfoot: I still believe in the Police Accountability Board. I think the majority of us do. But we did not sign up for this.
Brean: Are you concerned about the firings, the suspensions, the resignations from the PAB?
Mayor Evans: Well, what I’m concerned about is that taxpayer money is being used wisely, which the only role I have in any of these conversations related to the Police Accountability Board.
The PAB was formed after the death of Daniel Prude. It was approved by a city-wide referendum. It runs on $5 million taxpayer dollars. But unless the PAB meets the goals spelled out in the city budget, the $5 million does not get renewed next July.
Lightfoot: And I think we’re really going to have to come back to the community and say okay community — what do you want us to do? Like, really. Because at the end of the day the community wanted this. We gave it to them. But the community didn’t ask for this. They wanted results.
The PAB says it is concerned that following his suspension in may, Reynolds has interfered with the city’s investigation against him. That’s after a letter by staff members to the board says the PABis plagued with harassment, intimidation, retaliation and confusion.
The PAB emergency meeting is Thursday night at 6:30. Within the last few hours – we learned the police accountability board is requesting the state attorney general’s office launch a full investigation into former executive director Conor Dwyer Reynolds.
We just got a statement from Dwyer Reynolds:
“Yesterday, a majority of employees made a public call to fire current PAB management. Making ludicrous, defamatory statements about me is a transparent effort to distract from that fact. I have fully cooperated with Council’s investigation. It is long past time for PAB management to listen to the demands of their employees and take responsibility for their own actions.”
Here is a statement from PAB supporter and council member Stanley Martin:
I stand in solidarity with the workers employed at the Police Accountability Board (PAB). Under trying circumstances, 18 members of the PAB have organized themselves to address workplace hostility and mismanagement, in order to ensure that the PAB is functional and equipped to serve members of the Rochester community.
With courage and guided by a commitment to the principles of transparency and accountability, rank and file staff of the Agency came together to make their voices heard, and to advocate for changes that will ultimately preserve the integrity and longevity of the institution. As a member of City Council, I received their letter and support their requests.
I believe it is the duty of the Board to respond to the serious concerns raised by the staff, and to take action in defense of this essential agency of City Government. The workers of the PAB are in dire need of protection. In light of these revelations, I cannot support any new staff being brought into the Agency, until the issues raised by the majority of staff have been thoroughly investigated and appropriately addressed.
In addition, I support any efforts by these and all workers to unionize, and will encourage the Administration to recognize their union. I once again applaud the courage of the staff members who are committed to saving the institution our community fought to create, and to bring Rochester the accountability it so desperately needs.
The PAB was formed after the death of daniel prude by a citywide referendum. It runs on $5 million in taxpayer dollars which is funded by City Council.
Here is the letter from Michael Higgins: