BERKELEY (CBS SF) — The mayor of Berkeley announced Friday that Measure II, which increases accountability for the city’s police and decreases the department’s budget, passed with an overwhelming majority of the vote.
Mayor Jesse Arreguin posted a statement on social media declaring that Measure II, an amendment to the city’s charter, won a “commanding victory” with 84% of the vote.
“I am thankful for the voters of Berkeley for approving a new Police Accountability Board to replace our antiquated Police Review Commission, giving this board the authority and resources to thoroughly investigate misconduct allegations and review police policies to protect civil rights and liberties, and address racial and other disparities,” Arreguin wrote.
Added to the ballot by the city council after the controversial death of George Floyd, Measure II replaces the city’s Police Review Commission with a police accountability board that has more power over the police department. Berkeley created the commission in 1973 and was one of the first cities in the nation to do so. But the city hasn’t updated the functions of the commission since it was created, making it a relic compared to other police accountability bodies.
According to an essay written by the city council for Berkeleyside, the new police accountability board provides:
- An independent agency to investigate civilian complaints and ensure effective civilian oversight of police conduct.
- A director of police accountability to provide professional oversight and investigate complaints, make independent findings, and recommend corrective action.
- An extended deadline for people to file and for the board to review complaints, to allow adequate time for investigation of complaints and conform with other cities;
- A standard of proof for complaints that is consistent with other cities;
- Power to recommend discipline in cases of serious misconduct;
- Authority to propose policy changes to ensure fair and impartial policing, address racial inequities, and protect civil liberties;
- Ability to advise the City Council on the hiring of the chief of police with final approval remaining with the elected City Council.
The measure also decreases the police department’s budget by 12% and updates use-of-force policies.
No formal argument was submitted against the measure for the ballot. It’s expected to cost the city $300,000 a year.