Bakersfield Metropolis Council meets to debate allegations of BPD civil rights violations | Information

Bakersfield City Council held a closed session Wednesday for more than two hours to discuss allegations made by the California Department of Justice over possible civil rights violations by the Bakersfield Police Department.

After the meeting, city spokesman Joe Conroy said no reportable action had been taken and prosecutor Ginny Gennaro had not expanded the discussions that had taken place.

The Justice Department has been investigating both the BPD and Kern County’s Sheriff’s Office for “a pattern and practice of excessive violence” since 2016. The ministry recently signed a settlement agreement with the KCSO, forcing the agency to comply with changes or to face a lawsuit.

The city council meeting could signal that the city is on the verge of a similar deal. Prior to the KCSO agreement, the Supervisory Board met in a closed session under a similar pretext.

Much unknown is known about the city meeting, however, as city officials still have their lips closed.

BPD spokesman Robert Pair said he couldn’t say whether the Justice Department had completed its investigation and put questions to the prosecutor. That response was different from the one he gave last November, before regulators were scheduled for their session in the closed session, when he said he had heard nothing of a possible conclusion of the DOJ’s investigation into BPD.

As part of the deal with the Justice Department, KCSO needs to revise the use of violence policies along with other procedures. Progress is monitored by an independent observer to ensure compliance.

It is currently unknown whether an agreement with BPD is imminent and what it would require. However, when it reached an agreement with KCSO, the Justice Department said the BPD investigation was still ongoing.

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