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Richmond city council opposes redirecting funds from police

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Posted at 7:52 AM, Jul 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-28 09:03:07-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- The Richmond City Council has agreed to establish two police reforms but voted down a proposal that sought to explore how funds could be redirected from the city's police department to other social programs.

The council approved steps on Monday to establish a civilian review board over police and new protocols on responding to mental health related police calls.

The review board is an entity independent of the police department’s internal affairs that would consist of civilians who would be able to identify issues and recommend policy changes related to policing in Richmond.

The Marcus Alert is an advisory that will help officers and social workers respond to incidents involving people with mental health emergencies.

The alert is named for Marcus David Peters, who was shot and killed by a police officer during a mental health emergency in 2018. Peters was unclothed and unarmed when he charged a police officer who shot him. Peters’ family said their loved one was experiencing a mental crisis and needed help, and have been advocating for the alert and a citizen review board to be enacted since shortly after his death.

Both entities have been demanded by protesters throughout weeks of unrest in Richmond.

The Richmond police chief told the newspaper the proposal that sought to look at police budgets shows a loss of faith.

Councilman Michael Jones, who endorsed the measure, says it's only asking police examine where they're spending money. It was turned down in a 7-2 vote.