Should Taylor Biro be removed from the Police Review Board?
Tomorrow, the Citizens Police Review Board will meet, where one of its members is at risk of removal. Submit comments by 12pm today!
I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving holiday and break! I spent mine eating leftovers and driving up and down Florida to visit family lol the things we do for love.
Anyway, there is a Citizens Police Review Board meeting tomorrow, where a discussion will occur about one of its members, Taylor Biro, and the Police Union’s attempt to remove her from the board for “displaying bias against the police” because of an “abolition police” sticker on her coffee mug.
If you have opinions about her removal, please share them! The deadline to submit a comment virtually is today at 12pm. You can also speak at the meeting, either virtually or in person.
Below is a brief timeline surrounding the establishment of the Citizens Police Review Board and this drama.
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Brief timeline of events leading up to the establishment of the Citizens Review Police Board:
March 20, 2020: a Tallahassee police officer-involved shooting ended in the death of a 31-year-old Mycael Johnson.
May 19, 2020: a Tallahassee police officer-involved shooting ended in the death of 69-year-old Wilbon Cleveland Woodard.
May 25, 2020: a police officer murdered George Floyd, sparking a national movement and conversation about police brutality.
May 29, 2020: Aaron Glee Jr. was arrested on a charge of aggravated battery after assaulting a Black woman. Glee was released from jail on June 1st, after securing a bond by putting up 10% of the amount, or $250.
June 13, 2020: the bodies of Oluwatoyin “Toyin” Salau and Victoria Sims were found at the home of Aaron Glee Jr., who kidnapped and murdered both of the women.
September 23, 2020: the Citizens Police Review Board (CPRB) was established by ordinance. The board was created in response to citizen requests for police oversight, transparency, and accountability. “The CPRB would reflect the diversity of the Tallahassee community.”
Brief timeline of events leading up to calls for removal of one of the CPRB’s members:
June 16, 2022: Dianne Williams-Cox received a $1,000 campaign contribution from the Big Bend Police Benevolent Association, along with an endorsement a few days later.
October 12, 2022: After hearing the CPRB’s annual report, Commissioner Williams-Cox proposed an option of removing members from the board if they are displaying bias:
“I think we need to consider, in addition to being able to remove board members, if they consistently display bias against the police or against the community…and I’m understanding that you had a board member who had a cup on the table that said ‘(expletive) the police,’ … I wasn’t aware of that until it was shared with me. That, to me, says that there is a bias.”
After the meeting, Biro said Tallahassee Police Department Chief Lawrence Revell approached her to talk about the sticker. Biro said the two chatted and came away with an understanding. "We both had an agreement that it was important to make room for both sides of the conversation," Biro said.
November 17, 2022: The local Police Officers union called for the immediate removal of CPRB member, Taylor Biro, for allegedly bringing a coffee mug with a “vitriolic anti-police message” to a CPRB meeting.
In a statement, President Richard Murphy of the Big Bend Police Benevolent Association said “... We perform our duties without bias and with the utmost respect and professionalism for our fellow citizens. It is deeply disturbing that respect and professionalism are apparently not reciprocated on the Citizens Police Review Board by some individuals. When CPRB Member Taylor Biro brought a coffee mug to a recent CPRB meeting containing a vitriolic anti-police message, she immediately abdicated her fiduciary responsibility to serve on the CPRB fairly and without bias towards the police.”
November 20, 2022: Edward Gaines, the chair of the CPRB issued a statement defending Biro and her service to the board. In his statement, he said he disagreed with the Big Bend Police Benevolent Association's request and would continue to support Biro's presence on the board.
November 21, 2022: Taylor Biro responded to the allegations and the call for her removal. She said she has used the same mug for years and that it doesn't say "(expletive) the police," but instead "abolish police,". She went on to say "I am an abolitionist, … and I believe that punitive responses to poverty are not going to be viable solutions for our community in the immediate or the long run. I have never shied away from wearing my values on my sleeve, or on my cup, and that's why I have that sticker on there."
December 1, 2022: Citizens Police Review Board meeting from 5:30-8:30pm at Smith-Williams Service Center.
Header Picture from WCTV.