Tempers flare over police review board

Things got out of control at today's Tampa City Council workshop -- so much so that the meeting had to take a three-hour recess.

Residents got upset when council suggested backing down from an ongoing dispute with the mayor over the new citizens review board.

For the sake of compromise, some council members discussed giving the mayor what he wants: The majority vote on who will join the board.

Anger and frustration boiled over into shouts of "you're selling us out!" and "no compromise!"

Council and residents are still at odds with Mayor Bob Buckhorn over who should choose the people who will monitor Tampa police, and the authority those citizens should be granted.

"It's never been denied by me that the mayor has executive power, but we have legislative power, and we can exercise it. We should exercise it," councilmember Yvonne Yolie Capin offered.

"The council is able to select members from their district, not the mayor having full control and power, because we have no confidence in his credibility," one activist said to applause.

Under Mayor Buckhorn's plan, he will pick nine of the 11 board members, who will not have subpoena power and will not be able to review open cases.

That's not good enough, some say.

"They can only review cases that have been given to them after they've already been completed. Well then, what's even the point? The decision has already been made," resident Jonathan Hadley observed.

While the mayor has made it clear he intends to choose members who are neither pro- nor anti-police, some residents are still fearful they're interests won't be represented on the board.

"Individuals that represent our community and represent this city will bring fairness and justice to everyone," insisted another speaker.

Chairman Frank Reddick originally proposed each council member should be able to select one review board member, giving them seven votes, and leaving the mayor with four.

But after no sign of negotiation from Buckhorn's office, Councilmember Lisa Montelione proposed bending a little with a five-to-four split -- the mayor choosing five, the council choosing four, and each would select one alternative member.

It was not the decision those at the workshop wanted to hear, prompting more shouting.

"They don't understand what we were doing, and for them to just have an outburst, it shows disrespect to the council," Reddick offered.

No decision can be made until council meets again October 1.

If they can't reach an agreement, Reddick says it's possible there could be two citizen review boards.