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October 2012 PSNA Minutes

  • Police Review and Advisory Board
  • Long Funeral Home case
  • Bob Slate building

Police Review and Advisory Board

Muna Kangsen, Project and Outreach Coordinator, Policy Review & Advisory Board, gave the history of the review board and its mission. It was created in 1984 and hears complaints from the public about individual officers or the department and from individual officers about the department. The board receives 3-4 complaints per month and meets 6PM on the last Wednesday of the month at 51 Inman Street to discuss investigations of these complaints. The first part of the meeting is public.

Complaints must be filed within 60 days of the incident. It is possible to file a complaint either in person (at the City Hall Annex, 57 Inman Street), by letter, by email (bcorr@cambridgema.gov) or by telephone (617-349-6155). In all cases, everyone making a complaint is required to provide signed statement describing what happened and the specific complaint. Complaints can also be filed with directly with the police, for example with Deputy Superintendent Steven DeMarco in the Professional Standards Unit (617-349-3384).

Much of the discussion involved encounters over the years in which individuals felt that an officer was trying to either a) discourage them from filing a crime report on the rationale that nothing was likely to come of it anyway so why bother with all that paperwork or b) intimidate them by refusing to provide their name and badge number when requested. Raising hell immediately and consistently was considered the most reliable method of getting action.

We expressed interest in knowing whether officers are disciplined and what happens when they are. This information has been unavailable because it is considered a personnel issue, but some of it is appropriately public. We also asked about what to do when police don’t act—e.g., not enforcing parking or jaywalking laws.

Long Funeral Home case

Susan Hunziker reported on the status hearing on this case, which is still open. Azzam’s bankruptcy proceedings put everything on ice for about 3 years. The hearing was continued until November 1; the judge wants a joint memo from us and the city about the remaining issues.

Bob Slate building

Mary O’Neil reported that a sign in the AT&T store in the Galleria said that the business will be moving to 1967 Mass Ave, the site of the recently evacuated Stellabella toy store. A subsequent conversation with Steve Genova at Miso Market confirmed this announcement and that he has a 3-year stay of execution. So it looks like nothing will be happening there any time soon.