Tension between Cedar Rapids council, advocates over Citizens Review Board
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Organizers of recent protests in Cedar Rapids are at an impasse with city leaders over who should police the police.
The Advocates for Social Justice and the City Council agree there needs to be a Citizen Review Board, but they are far apart on how to build that board.
The group formed after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. As they peacefully marched through downtown and Bever Park, organizers also made a list of seven demands for police reform in the city. Council members unanimously supported the framework, but the implementation is proving contentious.
“Unfortunately we’re only on demand one and we’ve encountered some obstacles with the mayor and some city council members,” Amara Andrews, a member of the group, said.
The city is forming a task force to create the Citizen Review Board structure. Advocates for Social Justice has been working on this issue and wanted to comprise that task force themselves. The battle over who gets to be on the task force spilled over on a virtual meeting Friday.
“I’m sorry but I’m the elected official. I need to answer to citizens,” Mayor Brad Hart said.
KCRG-TV9 reached out to the city council and city staff and didn’t get a response for this story.
Members of the group said they’ve already done the research and said that it’s already a diverse cross-section of the city, with different ages, races, and educational levels.
“When you have a broad base who is begging and pleading with the mayor to work with us and take our research,” Andrews said. “And for him, to disregard us and wants us to fall in line with what he wants to do, that literally systemic oppression or systemic racism looks like.”
The most recent meeting concluded with the city manager agreeing to give the Advocates for Social Justice a list of who task force members could be. Members said that hasn’t happened yet.
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