All nine community social justice organization recommendations for Police Civilian Oversight Board members have been announced ahead of this week’s Common Council session.
On Friday, Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and council leadership announced their recommendation for the final Police Civilian Oversight Board members based on a community group nomination.
“With these nominations, we get the Civilian Oversight Board off to a strong start,” said Council Vice President Syed Abbas. “Thank you to all the community groups who participated by nominating candidates and helped bring the Civilian Oversight Board to fruition.”
The board was established by a vote on Sept. 1 to ensure the Madison Police Department is held accountable by the community. The idea of an oversight board originally came as a recommendation from an Office of Research Integrity report in 2015, which was commissioned in response to the death of Tony Robinson, who was shot and killed by Madison police officer Matt Kenny.
The Mayor and Madison City Council leadership chose nine recommendations from 27 nominations made by local organizations. Additionally, Mayor Rhode-Conway nominated two members for the Board, Keetra Burnette and Keith Findley, and the Council will nominate two more this week for a total of 13 Board members
“There were over 75 applicants interested in serving on the Civilian Oversight Board, making our decisions very difficult,” Rhodes-Conway stated in a press release. “I am confident that both Ms. Burnette and Mr. Findley will bring experience, perspective and community connections that will help the Board succeed in its mission.”
Burnette is a senior director at United Way of Dane County and is a member of the Executive Team of the Black Leadership Council. Findley is a co-founder of the Wisconsin Innocence Project and was a co-chair on the MPD Policy and Procedure Review Ad Hoc Committee.
Another community group appointee, Isadore Knox Jr., was nominated by the NAACP. Knox is an active community member and retired public servant. He also served a term on the City Council for District 13 and worked in the Dane County Office of Equity and Inclusion.
Other appointees are Ananda Deacon, nominated by Freedom, Inc.; Joshua Hargrove, nominated by JustDane; Rachel Kincade, nominated by NAMI; Ankita Bharadwaj, nominated by OutReach LGBTQ+ Community Center, Yesenia Villalpando-Torres, nominated by UNIDOS Against Domestic Violence; Maia Pearson, nominated by Urban Triage; and Jacquelyn Hunt, nominated by YWCA.
Many of the appointees have strong ties to the Madison community through activism, public service and volunteer work. One of them is Shadayra Kilfoy-Flores, a longtime community advocate who spoke on policing-related issues at City Council Meetings.
Kilfoy-Flores was nominated by the Community Response Team — a Madison-based group of people who support community-based public safety alternatives.
The Police Civilian Oversight Board will later appoint an Independent Police Monitor and work with the community to review the Madison Police Department’s use of force, training, hiring, policy, community relations, etc and make recommendations. Additionally, the board will provide accountability over the implementation of the recommendations made by the 2019 MPD Ad Hoc Committee.
The Common Council will select the two final appointees this week to complete the 13-member board. All 13 appointments will be up for confirmation at the Common Council meeting on Oct. 6.