Conversations continue over the City of Shreveport having a Citizens Review Board for the Shreveport Police Department.
The Critical Thinking Coalition started calling for action following the death of Anthony Childs, who was involved in an altercation with police. The Caddo Parish Coroner ruled his death was a suicide.
The group met with Mayor Adrian Perkins last month and presented a letter, asking for some type of citizen oversight of the police department.
Omari Ho-Sang says, “We have to be honest that the national climate around police and community interactions is not good now. So Shreveport must lead the way in showing that this community really takes the slogan to protect and serve seriously.”
Perkins responded in a letter, saying no authority prohibits the creation of a Citizens Review Board, but the Mayor’s office suggests communication with the Civil Service Board to understand their scope of legal responsibility. The letter goes on to explain, to avoid conflict with the CSB, they should determine the purpose of the review board. The group should also outline what is being reviewed and what effect, if any, findings by the review board would have on the function and operation of the police department.
According to Ho-Sang, members of the group are meeting again with the Mayor, Friday. She adds the group appreciates Perkins’ response, and she understands this is going to be a long term process and anticipates even more conversations.
“We have some further follow up questions around that, but most importantly our next steps, encouraging the Mayor to take a strong stance on this.”
The Mayor’s letter also advises the Critical Thinking Coalition to outline the purpose of the review board, to prevent any conflict with the Civil Service Board. It also explains that once the expectations of the group are defined, it can be submitted to Shreveport City Council for approval. However if any of the group’s aims go beyond the scope of what is permitted by the Civil Service Board, they will have to get approval from the Louisiana State Legislature.