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.