|The West Virginia American Civil Liberties Union wants lawmakers to create a statewide police civilian review board when they convene for the legislative session in January. |
It is a proposal that has been rejected by state lawmakers for 25 years, allowing the police to police themselves.
The WV State Police have been adamant in their opposition.
This is, in part, due to the controversial arrest by the Charleston Police Department of a woman with special needs in October and questions about the officers’ use of force.
"We just have to be better as far as communication in the department, with me, the mayor, and the community", said Charleston Police Chief Opie Smith on the November 14th use of force press conference.
Also at that press conference, Charleston Mayor Amy Goodwin called for better communication between the community and the police department to prevent further incidents like the one in October.
"We all took blame for saying I didn't call you, you didn't call me, it doesn't work that way. It can't work that way", Goodwin exclaimed.
The ACLU says what it hopes to accomplish with this law is transparency and independent oversight of police departments statewide.
It's a similar call for change that came during November's meeting about the Charleston Police Department's use of force.
"We're not going to give up on this. There are some things that we did accomplish with the mayor and some understanding with the police department. But what we're not going to stop doing is stop trying to change things", said pastor of Shalom Missionary Baptist Church Marlon Collins.
Another controversial incident surfaced over the weekend when West Virginia State Police determined that one of its own troopers sexually assaulted 2 women, but was never charged. The trooper admitted to using his status as a trooper to get them alone.
The trooper involved resigned. The FBI determined the first incident was consensual, and state police say the FBI never interviewed the second victim. Two lawsuits were filed against that state trooper. The first settled for $150,000; the second lawsuit is ongoing.
See WV troopers are cleared by internal reviews, then taxpayers spend millions settling the lawsuits
Also WV State Police says trooper sexually assaulted 2 women; he was never charged