Taylor Biro – a member of the Tallahassee Citizens Review Board Member (CPRB) – is defending a mug she allegedly took into a CPRB meeting that a had an “Abolish Police” sticker and a sticker with profanity.
TR obtained an image of the mug, which is shown below. The image shows an “Abolish Police” sticker and a unreadable sticker with the f**k word just below the “Abolish Police” message.
For months there has been rumors about the existence of a mug with an anti-law enforcement message, but it was never discussed publicly until the October 12th city commission meeting.
At that meeting, City Commissioner Dianne Williams-Cox referenced the mug as evidence of potential bias against law enforcement. She then raised the issue of removing CPRB members that show consistent bias against law enforcement.
After an article by Tallahassee Reports last week about the October 12th meeting, the PBA issued a statement seeking Biro’s removal from the CPRB.
Following the PBA request, Biro told WCTV that she never took a mug with an anti-law enforcement message to a CPRB meeting .
However, now she is defending the “Abolish Police” message.
Biro told the Tallahassee Democrat on Monday that “I am an abolitionist…I have never shied away from wearing my values on my sleeve, or on my cup, and that’s why I have that sticker on there.”
The police abolition movement is a political movement that advocates replacing policing with other systems of public safety. Police abolitionists believe that policing, as a system, is inherently flawed and cannot be reformed.
Complicating the issue is a statement released by the Chairman of the CPRB after the PBA statement seeking Biro’s removal from the CPRB.
Chairman Edward Gaines stated that he supported Biro remaining on the CPRB and noted the message on the mug was not anti-police, but rather “Abolish Police Brutality.”
The picture of the mug and statements by Biro contradicts Gaines statement.
In fact, Tallahassee Reports located a website (see below) that sells the identical sticker that is on Biro’s mug and it is identified as an “Abolish Police Sticker.”
Gaines said in his statement that “I was not aware of Ms. Biro ever bringing this cup to a CPRB Board Meeting and displaying the offensive language in question and I will continue to support her as a CPRB Board Member. As Chairman, I find this type of language offensive and understand how it can be perceived as a bias toward police officers. Also, under my leadership that type (or any kind) of offensive language displayed while representing CPRB would be immediately addressed. Further, at this point, I consider this matter now closed and a non-issue.”
TR has reached out to Chairman Gaines for a comment.
Now the question is will the city commission address the issue at their next meeting on December 8th.
The is not the first time Biro has been caught up in controversy.
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.
Biro was nominated by City Commissioner Jack Porter for membership on the CPRB and approved by the full commission.