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City Council Officially and Unanimously Votes to Support Local Black Lives Matter Priorities

City Council Officially and Unanimously Votes to Support Local Black Lives Matter Priorities

At a special council meeting on June 19, 2020, Cedar Rapids City Council met to discuss and adopt a resolution of support showing their full and united commitment and support for addressing seven priorities presented by local members of the Black Lives Matter movement. The resolution passed unanimously and each council member expressed their full support and commitment during the meeting. The full resolution text is available below. A video recording of the meeting is available on the City's Facebook page.

RESOLUTION OF SUPPORT OF STATEMENT COMMITTING TO ADDRESSING PRIORITIES OF CEDAR RAPIDS CITIZENS INVOLVED IN BLACK LIVES MATTER MOVEMENT


WHEREAS, the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and many others
whose names did not make national news have galvanized our community to march and speak
out against hundreds of years of systemic racism; and

WHEREAS, the Cedar Rapids City Council is listening to all the voices raised and recognizes
the urgency of the moment and that the time for action is now; and

WHEREAS the community conversation has focused on the following actions:
1. Form an independent citizens’ review board;
2. Make significant investments in diversity, equity, and inclusion;
3. Ban chokeholds and knee to neck maneuvers and strengthen use of force standards;
4. Decriminalize minor marijuana crimes and other low-level offenses;
5. Impose strict body camera provisions;
6. Make negotiations between law enforcement and municipal representatives public; and
7. Abolish qualified immunity; and

WHEREAS, the City of Cedar Rapids and the Cedar Rapids Police Department will form an
independent citizens’ review board; and

WHEREAS, the City of Cedar Rapids has made, and will continue to increase, investments in
diversity, equity, and inclusion. These include implicit bias training, hundreds of thousands of
dollars to implement the Safe and Equitable Task Force recommendations, hiring an additional
mental health liaison that works with police officers in the field to divert people from the
correctional system and make sure they get the treatment they need, and establishing a Crisis
Intervention Team with specialized training to follow up after the initial call for emergency
assistance; and

WHEREAS, Cedar Rapids Police Department policy bans officer actions that could restrict a
person's airway (chokeholds) and specifically bans knee-to-neck holds. The Department also
requires de-escalation training to avoid physical confrontation; and

WHEREAS, While the City of Cedar Rapids does not have the power to decriminalize minor
marijuana crimes and other low level offenses, national data shows that marijuana usage is
roughly equal among white and black people but black people are more than three times more
likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white people and Iowa has one of the
greatest disparities in arrest rates for marijuana possession between white and black people,
with black people being over seven times more likely to be arrested than white people; and

WHEREAS, All Cedar Rapids police department officers wear body cameras. The cameras turn
on automatically when an officer activates a cruiser's emergency lights. Officers are also
required to manually turn on their camera when interacting with the public in situations where
the camera is not automatically activated. Body camera footage is stored for three years. The
Cedar Rapids body camera policy has been reviewed by the ACLU and U.S. Department of
Justice, earning an almost perfect score; and
WHEREAS, While the City of Cedar Rapids does not have the power to change laws governing
bargaining between law enforcement and municipal representatives, the City of Cedar Rapids
and its Police Department have a demonstrated record of transparency with over one hundred
of its policies and procedures posted at www.cedar-rapids.org/police and all of its Civil Service
Commission proceedings are public; and

WHEREAS, Qualified immunity is a function of state and federal law; and

WHEREAS, The City of Cedar Rapids has worked beyond the community requests including
the Police Chief making department policy clear that an officer has a duty to intervene if they
observe another officer acting unlawfully; the Cedar Rapids Police Department is one of only
5% of 18,000 police departments nationwide achieving gold-standard CALEA accreditation,
requiring regular review of department policies and procedures; and the City is also working to
collect and analyze data to better understand the impact of its policies and procedures; and

WHEREAS, The Cedar Rapids City Council encourages citizens to keep speaking up. Keep
speaking out. The City of Cedar Rapids is responding and will keep working with the
community to combat systemic racism.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CEDAR
RAPIDS, IOWA, as follows:
The Cedar Rapids City Council supports the City’s work, both underway and completed, to
form a citizens’ review board, make significant investments in diversity, equity, and inclusion,
ban chokeholds and knee to neck maneuvers and strengthen use of force standards, and have
a detailed body camera policy reviewed and approved by outside experts.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Cedar Rapids City Manager, City Attorney, Chief of the
Police Department, and other City staff and outside experts as deemed necessary by the same
shall research the extent of the City of Cedar Rapids’ authority to make changes to and
available policy options and recommendations (provided that the City Council will not take any
action that would result in the loss of accreditation of its police officers or loss of accreditation
of the Cedar Rapids regional police academy by the state of Iowa or otherwise result in a denial
of state or federal funding) regarding the following and present its conclusions to the City
Council within two months:
1. The treatment and/or prioritization of enforcement of minor marijuana crimes, including,
but not limited to, ordinance and/or internal policy changes;
2. The transparency of bargaining between law enforcement and municipal
representatives; and
3. Abolishing qualified immunity.

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