The Boston Police Task Force will present their recommendations to improve the process of reviewing police misconduct cases to Mayor Marty Walsh on Thursday, the mayor told reporters at a press conference outside City Hall on Tuesday.
The recommendations were delayed by two weeks, Walsh said, as the task force wanted to “expand areas of research” before providing a review.
Walsh said the report will include recommendations for improving the existing Civilian Ombudsman Oversight Panel, also known as the Co-Op Board, a panel tasked with reviewing a limited number of police misconduct cases.
“I’ll be briefed this week to talk about that,” Walsh said, “to determine how we can strengthen it to better meet the needs of our residents, or if we’ll even use a different system.”
The Co-Op Board does not have the authority to adjudicate those cases or conduct their own investigations. Cases can only be reviewed after investigations have been concluded by the BPD's Internal Affairs Department.
As the mayor spoke, city councilors heard testimony on the creation of a new civilian oversight review board that would investigate allegations of police misconduct or improper use of force, and would hold police officers accountable for improper behavior. The Walsh administration did not testify before the Council, but did send a note taker to "listen." Walsh is unclear whether he will support the effort.
According to a 1987 Supreme Judicial Court ruling, the mayor has sole power over modifying the operation of municipal departments.
“I’m assuming we’re going to have a conversation once the task force comes back with recommendations, and with what Councilor [Andrea] Campbell and the councilors will be talking about today,” Walsh said. “I have not seen their version, and I’ll be getting my briefing from the task force on Thursday.”
Walsh has been criticized for the creation of the task force, which would continue the city’s ongoing process of Boston Police reviewing their own misconduct cases.
Ananalysis by GBH News found that actions to improve the process for misconduct investigations had improved under Walsh, but still fell far short of reaching the goal established nearly 30 years ago by the St. Clair police reform commission.
According to recent figures released by police, the BPD’s Internal Affairs department takes more than 600 days, on average, to present findings following a misconduct complaint.