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Virginia Beach: No investigative powers for police board

Photos: COMPLETE COVERAGE: Virginia Beach Municipal Center shooting
Posted at 6:56 PM, Mar 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-13 18:56:46-05

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- A citizen review board that reviews complaints against police officers in the city of Virginia Beach may not get the power to subpoena witnesses or to discipline police.

The Virginian-Pilot reported Thursday that the Virginia Beach City Council voted 6 to 5 against giving extra powers to the Investigation Review Panel.

Those powers included giving the panel access to investigative files. The board also voted unanimously against giving the board the ability to discipline law enforcement officers.

Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer said the city will accept public input at an undetermined time later this year. That means the issue is still up for debate.

The City Council's vote disappointed community activists who have been lobbying the city to make the civilian review board more effective and transparent.

Damien Stennett, a local activist, said criminal justice reform advocates plan to protest this summer if the council doesn’t expand the powers of the board.