Chattanooga City Council approves creation of police oversight board; member selection process to begin

Police Chief David Roddy addresses the city council during a meeting in the Chattanooga City Council chamber on Tuesday, May 14, 2019, in Chattanooga, Tenn. A proposed $263.8 million city budget for fiscal year 2020 includes funding for infrastructure upgrades.

The city of Chattanooga has approved the creation of a citizen oversight board for the city's police department.

Council members unanimously voted in favor of the ordinance during its Tuesday night meeting.

The nine-member board, called the Police Advisory and Review Committee, will be a civilian investigative entity to review cases of police misconduct.

Its purpose, according to the ordinance, is to "strengthen the relationship" between citizens and police and to "assure timely, fair and objective review of citizen complaints while protecting the individual rights of police officers."

Discussions on forming an oversight board began earlier this year after a series of allegations of police brutality and misconduct, including rape, sexual battery and the filmed beating of a 37-year-old man during a traffic stop in March 2018.

After the Times Free Press published a video of Chattanooga police officer Benjamin Piazza punching and cursing the apparently compliant 37-year-old man, police Chief David Roddy appeared before the City Council to answer questions about the department's policies and asked the council for help in developing a better administrative review committee.