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Cowardly Tampa police chief runs, hides, from community discussion on police

By Staff |
June 24, 2020
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Tampa, FL - On Tuesday June 23, the Tampa community gathered in the hundreds at the Tampa Convention Center for the monthly Tampa Citizens Review Board meeting. This was the first Citizens Review Board meeting since the outbreak of the justice for George Floyd uprising at the end of May. At the convention center, the city used pandemic social distancing guidelines to prevent many from getting into the building. While 50 people were allowed in the chamber where the meeting was proceeding, 30 were allowed to sit in a lobby outside and watch on a tv screen. Many dozens more were left to congregate at the entrance to the building, holding signs and watching livestreams of the event on their phones.

The agenda was stacked with community members and organizers speaking out for greater police accountability, defunding the police, among other demands. Towards the end of the meeting Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan was slated to have a discussion with community members in attendance. Upon taking the stand he announced he wouldn’t be discussing anything at the meeting and that community members should join his Citizens Advisory Group which is controlled by the Tampa Police Department. Afterwards, he ran out of the room into an area closed off from attendees as attendees tried to approach him to ask questions.

“The Tampa Citizens Review Board has neither the interest nor the ability to properly protect the community, and Chief Dugan’s Citizens Advisory Group will almost certainly be even more toothless and compromised by police influence. We need a Civilian Police Accountability Council, only that will make the streets of Tampa safer for the African American community,” said David Jones of the Tampa Bay Community Action Committee

The Tampa Citizens Review Board was founded in 2016 in response to outcry over lack of police accountability. It has been heavily criticized in the community for the lack of power it has to hold police to account, as well as the influence the police department has in its staffing.

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