In response to “The Incident” (https://annecwoodlen.wordpress.com/2012/05/28/the-incident/ ) someone called “pro police” (email@example.com ) commented: “FYI, the Syracuse Community Review Board [sic] found that the Officer’s actions were appropriate in this incident. For those that do not know, the Syracuse CRB is an independent panel that investigates Police Officers and complaints made against them. The CRB is very impartial and an alternative to the police departments [sic] internal affairs. Basically if the CRB finds that an officer acted appropriately, he did!!!! Hopefully this post remains here so people know the truth and another Officer’s reputation is not tarnished because this is only one side of the story.”
To which I replied “Dear Pro Police, One of the differences between you and I is that I sign my name when I write something. Here are a couple other facts: the Dept. of Internal Affairs no longer exists. It is now called the Office of Professional Standards (OPS). When a complaint is filed with OPS, they copy it to the Citizen Review Board (CRB) (not the “Syracuse Community Review Board” as you say). OPS’ determination was that the officer should have told me the name of my antagonist. I have not yet read the decision from the CRB; how did you get it? Anne C Woodlen”
Pro Police also posted the same comment on “The Police Response to the Incident” (https://annecwoodlen.wordpress.com/2012/06/03/the-police-response-to-the-incident/) to which I replied:
Actually, pro police not only is a coward who won’t sign his /her name, s/he is also dead wrong. THE CITIZEN REVIEW BOARD DID NOT DECIDE THE OFFICER’S (NON)ACTION WAS APPROPRIATE.
From the CRB administrator: “In light of your request not to have this case proceed to a hearing panel, the Board voted not to forward your case to a CRB panel. However, the Board was concerned with the treatment you received by Officer Malinowski and gave strong consideration to my recommendation that the Board conduct a careful examination of the training and policies of the Syracuse Police Department in regards to the handling of cases involving physically and mentally disabled persons. The Board would like you to know that it will continue to examine this issue as more cases come through the CRB office.”
The Citizen Review Board made no finding that the officer’s actions were appropriate.
I declined to have the matter move to a hearing panel. Officer Malinowski is in his first year on the job. I do not wish to ruin his career. What I want is for him to get re-directed into understanding that he is not The Power. He is to serve The People, not be a bully. It is likely that he will have the opportunity to sit with the chief of police, who will help him to understand this.
Among more experienced, higher ranking police officers, there is a great need for re-training. Police officers need to understand the atypical vulnerabilities of people with disabilities and how much we need their assistance. Any disabled person who has not been well-served by the police can report it to the Citizen Review Board with confidence that they will be accepted and treated with courtesy and respect.