Citizens Review Board to Ease Tensions in Duluth
Posted at: 10/26/2012 4:03 PM
| Updated at: 10/26/2012 5:19 PM
By: Travis Dill
Duluth Mayor Don Ness was excited on Friday that the Citizens Review Board is finally ready to take action.
“I'm just thrilled with what I think will be a great tool and a great addition to the city of Duluth,” Ness said.
After years of development the Citizens Review Board is now ready to establish a relationship between Duluth citizens and the police department that serves them.
The mayor commented on the tension that has been present between the police department and the community.
“It gets to these flash points in which there is a tremendous amount of emotion involved, and there can be opportunities for characterizations and division between the police department and the community,” Ness said.
Eyewitness News reported on one such flash point in September. A video, released by the Duluth Police Department, shows Officer Richard Jouppi repeatedly striking a man in a wheelchair at a detox facility. Jouppi is on administrative leave as he faces two misdemeanor charges because of the incident.
“Having the citizen review board, I think, is an opportunity for our community to work through these issues and kind of strip away the emotion of any particular case,” Ness said.
Katherine Eagle is one of the new board members and she agrees with the mayor.
“At least we can all kind of come to the table and look at how to improve our response and how to have a better community and build relationships. And I think that's what this Citizens Review Board is all about,” Eagle said.
Police Chief Gordon Ramsay also supported the formation of the review board, but the Duluth Police Union has opposed it in the past. Union President Tom Maida did not return calls for comment on the review board.
Mayor Ness said he had over 40 applicants for the 6 member board.