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Broward County Leaders Vote To Create Police And Criminal Justice Review Board

Broward County Mayor Dale Holness
Carline Jean
South Florida Sun Sentinel
Broward County Mayor Dale Holness talks about Broward moving into Phase 2 of reopening from COVID-19 at Fort Lauderdale governmental center on September 11,2020.

Commissioners in Broward voted unanimously to create a countywide police and criminal justice review board.

Broward County Commissioners unanimously passed an ordinance to create a police and criminal justice review board Tuesday.

The review board will investigate patterns and trends in policing, including use of force. The body will have limited subpoena power.

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Hillsboro Beach Mayor Deb Tarrant called in to public comment to speak up against creating the review board. She said she was concerned about the makeup of the board.

"By stacking the board with activists and people who have had negative experiences with law enforcement, you're not creating a review board — you're creating a lynch mob," Tarrant told the commission.

The 24-member review board has to include one mental health professional, a member nominated by each commissioner, several members nominated by local bar associations, as well as local chapters of other community groups, including Black Lives Matter, the ACLU, the NAACP, and New Florida Majority.

Former state senator Dwight Bullard is now the political director for the New Florida Majority. He reacted to Tarrant's lynch mob comment.

"Part of why we want the review board established is to make sure that these occurrences don't happen to African-Americans in this community," he said.

The board also has to include a member nominated by the sheriff.

Commissioners battled misinformation about the board's powers. In September, many people called in to argue the review board doesn't go far enough, while commissioners worked with Mayor Dale Holness to create a more narrow scope for the ordinance. The initial vote was postponed.

Read More: Broward Commissioners Delay Decision On Creating Police Review Board, Talk County Budget For 2021

Holness sponsored the ordinance. He shared his personal experience with police, when his ex-fiance's son — Cedric Telasco — was shot and killed by police in Lauderhill in 2011.

The county mayor said Telasco had a history of mental illness, and he felt that was an example of a situation that could have avoided escalation.

"What this board is here to do, it's not to punish police officers — it doesn't have the ability to do so," Holness said. "It has the ability to review, to research, to look at best practices from across the country and bring them to bear here."