CPRB remains in limbo as TPD faces scrutiny over handling of officer conduct

Published: Mar. 3, 2023 at 2:16 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 3, 2023 at 5:26 PM EST
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Update: The city will begin accepting applications for the Citizens Police Review Board in late March, wrote Matt Lutz, director of records management for Tallahassee, in an email to WCTV.

Tallahassee officials will need about 60 days to fill the vacant seats after the start of the application period. Based on the City Commission’s meeting schedule, the soonest date available for the group to take action on filling the seats will be June 14, he said.

Out of the nine seats on the board, five are vacant. The vanancies must be filled by individuals nominated from local civic and social service groups and then appointed by the commission. He listed examples including organizations like the League of Women Voters, the NAACP, the local chapter of the Florida Bar and university or college associations.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Tallahassee’s Citizens Police Review Board, established in 2020, has yet to meet months after the removal of several members following controversy over an alleged ‘anti-police’ cup being brought to a meeting.

This week, as the Tallahassee Police Department faces growing questions over the handling of two incidents involving officers, it remains to be seen if or when the cases will be reviewed by the board.

There are several vacant seats the city has not yet filled. Once a quorum is met the board will meet to discuss what issues to take up on their agenda. Inspector General Dennis Sutton told WCTV both incidents could be brought before the board, if selected.

The CPRB was created after several officer-involved shootings in Tallahassee sparked renewed calls for change and independent oversight from community members.

Since it’s inception, members have reviewed cases and made recommendations including on TPD’s use of baton policy after the release of bodycam footage in a 2021 arrest outside of a business on W. Tennessee Street.

But their work came to a halt in recent months, after former member Taylor Biro was accused of bringing a cup to a CPRB member that had an ‘anti-police message.’ No photos of the cup were ever produced, and there have been conflicting details on what exactly the ‘anti-police’ message was.

In December, the commission voted to remove Biro from the board in a 3 to 2 decision. Ahead of that vote, Biro’s former fellow members voted unanimously to support her staying on the board.

Biro has filed a lawsuit against the City of Tallahassee. Most recently, parties on both sides were in court February 22 for a motion hearing, according to online court records.

Legal representation for the City of Tallahassee asked a judge in January to dismiss the lawsuit.

The next court date has not yet been set.