"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.
Got something to say? The Chronicle welcomes opinion pieces on any topic from the community. Submit yours now at austinchronicle.com/opinion.
A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.
Support the Chronicle