Ithaca, N.Y. — The Ithaca Community Police Board’s external review of a sergeant’s decision to pull his weapon on two unarmed teens has been completed.
In line with the board’s standard protocol, the results of the review are not being made public, according to the board’s co-chairs.
“We must keep things confidential,” said Rick Rogers, one of the co-chairs of the board, which met at City Hall on Wednesday.
The co-chairs said the reviews are never released in order to protect the process of the review, the officers and the complainants.
“Our goal is to try to resolve the conflict,” said Shirley Kane, another co-chair. “…We ask them, ‘How can I help you resolve this conflict you’re having with the department?’ Some of these are resolved with the officer and the complainant having a conversation.”
People need to be able to talk, and without the guarantee of confidentiality that would not happen, according to Kane.
The confidential results of the investigation will be sent to the complainants, the mayor and the police chief.
Previously, an internal police review of the sergeant’s decision found that the action was “wholly consistent” with Ithaca police policy.
Sgt. John Norman was cleared of at least two major accusations leveled against him: 1) that he had no reason to pull his weapon on the teens, and 2) that his actions were racially biased.
Rogers, the board co-chair, expressed general frustration with media coverage, including that of The Ithaca Voice, about the incident. He said the press had conflated several different issues involved with the incident, including SWAT funding for Ithaca police and racial concerns.
Rogers also criticized Mayor Svante Myrick and members of the Ithaca Common Council. Rogers and Kane said the mayor’s statements about the independent Community Police Board investigation preempted the investigation itself.
“The kind of controversy generated in the media and Facebook … does not generate conversation between parties; it generates hatred,” Rogers said.