At the October 12th Tallahassee City Commission meeting, elected officials received a briefing on the Citizens Police Review Board annual report by CPRB Chairman Edward Gaines.
After the briefing, City Commissioner Dianne Williams-Cox addressed the issue of bias against law enforcement by CPRB members. Williams-Cox indicated that “we should consider removing board members that consistently show a bias against the police.”
Williams-Cox stated that she had heard that a CPRB member attended a CPRB meeting with a cup imprinted with the phrase “F**k the police”
Williams-Cox was referring to an incident – confirmed by TR via several sources- that took place at a meeting convened at the Tallahassee Police Department.
“That to me says there is a bias” said Williams-Cox. “There is no place for that in what we are trying to do here in the city of Tallahassee.”
Chairman Gaines said that the issue should be addressed by the city commission and the CPRB member.
The CPRB member involved with the incident was Taylor Biro. Biro was nominated for the CPRB by City Commissioner Jack Porter and approved unanimously by the city commission.
In response to the comments by Williams-Cox, Commissioner Porter said she is uncomfortable discussing at this point in the process, removing a member.
Commissioner Jeremy Matlow, following Porter’s comments, addressed the comments by City Commissioner Dianne Williams-Cox relating to the cup incident.
Matlow said, “The CPRB should represent all aspects of our community. There are people in our community that believe the police can do no wrong and fly blue lives matter flags. There are people in our community that don’t trust the police at all…All of these perspectives matter…I am not interested in trying to get to a sanitized board….we have to hear the good the bad and the ugly.”
In November of last year, Tallahassee Inspector General Dennis Sutton questioned CPRB member Biro‘s objectivity during a board subcommittee meeting based on an opinion column written by Biro and published in the Tallahassee Democrat.
In the column, Biro wrote, “Don’t ask us to recommend a policy or training to fix this, because policing isn’t broken, it’s performing exactly as it was designed. We cannot remove the eggs from a cake after it comes out of the oven. Sometimes you just need a new recipe.”
Sutton said actions like Biro’s could give a negative impression of the board to Tallahassee Police Department members, decreasing their willingness to work with them. He also said board members were required to say that they would remain unbiased on their application to join the board.
“There is a concern by the rank and file that this board is completely biased against the police department,” Sutton said.
In response, Biro said she isn’t biased, she just doesn’t support how police currently operate in the city.