Civilian Board Formed To Review Birmingham Police Actions

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A five-member board of civilians is being established to review complaints of police misconduct in Alabama's largest city, Mayor Randall Woodfin said Monday.

The Civilian Review Board, which was recommended by a task force that reviewed public safety following the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota and nationwide protests last year, will have subpoena power as it investigates matters not otherwise referred to prosecutors or the Birmingham Police Department's internal affairs office.

Members will include former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance; former Birmingham Police Chief Annetta Nunn; attorney Victor Revill; the Rev. Lawrence Conoway; and activist and speaker T. Marie King, said Woodfin, who created the board with an executive order.

“This is an opportunity to build bridges, to cultivate trust, to create more checks and balances and for ensuring justice," Woodfin said during a news briefing. “We’re putting reform in the hands of the people.”

In announcing the board, Woodfin invoked the name of Bonita Carter, a Black woman whose shooting death by a Birmingham police officer in 1979 led to protests and political change in the city, including the election of the city's first Black mayor. A cousin of Carter, J.D. Jackson, said her death helped ensure "that our city became truly the Magic City so it would stop being the tragic city.”