During the Tallahassee City Commission meeting on Wednesday, City Commissioner Dianne Williams-Cox made a motion to remove Taylor Biro from the Tallahassee Citizens Police Review Board. The motion passed 3-2 with Mayor John Dailey and City Commissioner Curtis Richardson in support.
City Commissioner Jack Porter – who previously nominated Biro to the Board – and City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow voted against the move.
Those elected officials in support of the motion indicated the actions of the CPRB were moving away from the original mission of the recently created board. While Matlow and Porter argued that diverse views were needed on the board.
The vote ends a two month saga which began at an October 12th city commission meeting when Williams-Cox asked the chairman of the CPRB about a member bringing a cup to meetings with an anti-law enforcement message.
At that meeting, 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.” “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.
Subsequently, the the Florida PBA Big Bend Chapter called for the removal of Biro for “promoting an inappropriate, incendiary, and anti-police message at a recent CPRB meeting.”
Further reporting revealed the cup in question carried an “Abolish Police” sticker.
In an interview with the Tallahassee Democrat Biro said she was “abolitionist.” Biro said, “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.
On Monday, just ahead of the city commission meeting, the Chairman of the Tallahassee Citizens Police Review Board (CPRB) – Edward Gaines – emailed a press release stating that the CPRB membership unanimously supports Taylor Biro remaining on the board. Board members indicated they would resign if Biro was removed.
Commissioner Curtis Richardson indicated that the CPRB needs to have a working relationship law enforcement and that recent actions by the Board has made such a relationship impossible.
“I don’t know how we get there from here”, Richardson added.
This was not the first time Biro has been in the news about her law enforcement views.
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.