Implementation of San Diego’s police accountability measure causes a stir

Last year, an overwhelming majority of San Diego voters approved a measure to increase officer oversight and accountability. Measure B called for the creation of a new, independent police review commission with subpoena power and — importantly — its own legal counsel.

One of the overarching goals of Measure B was to create distance between the commission and the city attorney’s office which defends the city’s police officers against lawsuits. But now that it’s time for Measure B to be written into law, it’s none other than the city attorney who’s responsible. That’s a conundrum that has generated criticism from police accountability activists.

“Measure B provides for independent legal counsel,” Kate Yavenditti, a lawyer and member of Women Occupy San Diego, told Voice of San Diego’s Kelly Davis. “Why are we still using the city attorney’s office?”

Activists are already upset with the release of a draft ordinance, which they say would “gut” the measure people voted for. Officials agreed to start over after receiving criticism. But Measure B advocates want more. They’d like to see the city attorney back away entirely and allow an outside expert to write the law.