Police Accountability Task Force
In the immediate aftermath of Andy Lopez’s death in 2013, NBOP leaders helped bring attention to police brutality in our neighborhoods by convening community gatherings and working directly with leaders from our most impacted communities. Nearly a decade later, our people are still standing up to institutions that kill, harm, detain and criminalize immigrants and members of our most vulnerable communities. NBOP leaders voted to formally prioritize a task force that could actively hold police accountable for their harm in our communities, reduce further militarization of these institutions and provide civilians with tools for defending their rights when engaging with the police.
In 2020, our neighbors across Sonoma County voted by a landslide to hold police accountable for their violent acts through Measure P – a law that gave the Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach (IOLERO) new authority to investigate potential wrongdoing and make disciplinary recommendations. Measure P survived a court challenge by Sheriff's unions but our Board of Supervisors bargained away critical provisions of Measure P. One of those provisions would have allowed the Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach (IOLERO), our sheriff watchdog agency, to initiate an investigation any time a person dies in custody or as a result of a shooting or other action by a sheriff’s employee.
In the summer 2022, a sheriff's deputy fatally shot and killed immigrant worker David Pelaez Chavez. When he was shot, the body-camera video showed Mr. Chavez was bent to the ground, likely exhausted from a 45-minute chase. He had in his hands gardening tools and a rock. Our leaders and organizers have worked directly with the family of David Pelaez Chavez in their calls for justice.
Measure P gave IOLERO power to conduct independent investigations whenever a person dies in custody or as a result of the actions of sheriff employees. Under the original letters of agreement, IOLERO had to wait until the sheriff completed its investigation. After a year long campaign and public pressure mounting from the death of David Pelaez Chavez, IOLERO is now able to investigate concurrently.
If it were not for public pressure, IOLERO would not have the true independent investigative power needed to guarantee that cases such as that of David Pelaez Chavez receive review outside of the jurisdiction of law enforcement.
Will you join us?
If you have questions or want to get involved, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and your inquiry will be directed to our Police Accountability Task Force organizers.
To learn more about our work, watch a livestream of our Police Accountability and Religious Leaders Task Force speak at a community vigil for David Pelaez Chavez, who was fatally shot by a Sonoma County Sheriff's Deputy on July 29, 2022.
In The News
July 8, 2023
Sunday marks 345 days since a Sonoma County sheriff’s deputy shot and killed David Pelaez-Chavez following a foot chase in the rural Knight’s Valley, and the public still does not know whether prosecutors will bring criminal charges against the officer who pulled the trigger. (Press Democrat)
October 22, 2022
Shortly after holding a 1 p.m. rally, participants placed large strips of paper with names of people they said were victims of police brutality and misconduct on the glass front door and windows of the county supervisors’ chambers. (Press Democrat)
August 10, 2022
At a Friday, Aug. 5, vigil hosted by the North Bay Organizing Project, Chavez’s older brother accused authorities of “murdering who [David] was” in public statements about his death. “My brother did not deserve to die like this. He was a good man, a joyous, happy man. We have many questions in regard to the investigation and what they are saying happened. What we want is justice.” (North Bay Bohemian)
Community Forum on Racism and Interactions with Police in Petaluma
In June 2020, Petaluma City Management held a Petaluma Policing Town Hall Virtual Meeting in response to the uprising for Black Lives and actions about policing and social justice. Many community members, and particularly BIPOC voices, felt that they were not heard. NBOP's Petaluma Table gathered community organizations to host a listening circle and forum that would hold space for voices from the BIPOC communities of Petaluma. Then, NBOP leaders and coalition members produced a report centering four recommendations for the City of Petaluma.