Naked City

"A Political' Police Panel?

On Dec. 6, City Manager Jesus Garza named the seven appointees who will serve as members of Austin's first police citizen review panel, which will work in concert with the yet-to-be-appointed police monitor in reviewing citizen concerns about police conduct. The seven panelists -- Dr. Sterling Lands II, Celia Israel, Robert Mendoza, Roy Butler, Ashton Cumberbatch Jr., Tony Diaz, and Flynn Lee -- begin their terms Jan. 2, 2002. The most controversial among the appointees might be Diaz, one of the three lawyers representing yogurt-shop murder defendant Michael Scott.

Since the citizen review board was adopted earlier this year, Garza and other city officials have stressed neutrality as a required characteristic of panel candidates. With Diaz doubling up as panel member and as a major player in one of the most notorious murder cases in Travis County history -- in which possible police corruption is a featured issue -- it's unclear how apolitical this appointment will stay.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Jesus Garza, Sterling Lands II, Celia Israel, Robert Mendoza, Roy Butler, Ashton Cumberbatch, Tony Diaz, Flynn Lee, Michael Scott

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