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City Council to confirm Police Accountability Board appointees 

City Council has released a list of nine people it plans to confirm to Rochester’s new Police Accountability Board. The appointments are expected to be made at the next Council meeting on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

Under the law that created the board, Council is responsible for appointing all nine members despite not having a direct hand in selecting each one.

Council was tasked with choosing four members outright, and selecting another four from a pool of applicants approved by the Police Accountability Board Alliance, the grassroots coalition that pushed for the board. The last appointee was picked by Mayor Lovely Warren.

click to enlarge At a September press conference, Police Accountability Board Alliance members said they’re optimistic about the results of the Locust Club’s suit. (From left: Phyllis Harmon, Ted Forsyth, Wanda Wilson, and Markeisha Jackson.) - FILE PHOTO
  • FILE PHOTO
  • At a September press conference, Police Accountability Board Alliance members said they’re optimistic about the results of the Locust Club’s suit. (From left: Phyllis Harmon, Ted Forsyth, Wanda Wilson, and Markeisha Jackson.)
A news release announcing the appointments said 61 people applied to sit on the panel, whose posts are unpaid. The city budget contains $350,000 to cover start-up and administration costs of the board, including paying a director and staff. 

Voters overwhelmingly approved establishing the board in a November referendum. Under the law, the board is to be an independent office of city government with its own executive director and staff. It is to be responsible for investigating allegations of officer misconduct, and have the power to issue subpoenas, impose discipline, and assess police practices and procedures.

Whether it will operate to that extent remains to be seen. Litigation brought by the Rochester Police Locust Club, the union representing police officers, to strike down the law that created the board is still pending in state court.

The union argues the board would violate state and federal law and clashes with the union’s contract with the city. Another sticking-point for the union is that the board cannot by law have more than one member with a background in law enforcement.

The board members, pending confirmation, would be:

Dr. Robert Harrison III, a physician and retired University of Rochester medical professor, who would represent City Council’s East District.

The Rev. Matthew Martin Nickoloff, the founding pastor of South Wedge Mission, who would represent City Council’s South District.

Ida Pérez, director of Ibero-American Action League’s Children and Family Stability Services and a child development associates instructor at Rochester Educational Opportunity Center, who would represent the City Council’s Northeast District.

Rabbi Drorah Setel of Temple Emanu-El, a Reform synagogue in Irondequoit, who would represent City Council’s Northwest District.

The Rev. Dr. Rickey Bernard Harvey, senior pastor of Mount Olivet Baptist Church, who would be the board’s mayoral appointee.

Jonathan Dollhopf, a deaf systems advocate for Regional Center for Independent Living, who would be a Police Accountability Board Alliance representative.

Miquel Powell, a substance abuse therapist and the founder of The Reentry &
Community Development Center, who would be a Police Accountability Board Alliance representative.

Shani Wilson, a physician assistant at Trillium Health who works closely with local LGBTQ+ organizations, including Rochester Black Pride and the Greater Rochester LGBTQ+ Political Caucus. She would be a Police Accountability Board Alliance representative.

Celia McIntosh, a nurse practitioner certified in several areas, including family and mental health, who is also president of ROC Regional Coalition Against Human Trafficking. She would be a Police Accountability Board Alliance representative.

Each board member will serve an initial term that expires June 30, after which members would be appointed to staggered terms of three years.

Jeremy Moule is CITY’s news editor. He can be reached at jmoule@rochester-citynews.com.

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