Justice

Kalamazoo activist booted from police oversight board

Nathan Dannison was told by officials they didn't think he could be impartial in reviewing police actions.

A prominent Kalamazoo activist and critic of police misconduct has been removed from a board tasked with overseeing Kalamazoo’s Department of Public Safety (KDPS).

Reverend Nathan Dannison was informed Tuesday that he will not be reappointed to the Citizens Public Safety Review and Appeal Board (CPSRAB) once his term expires next week. He said city officials told him it was because they didn’t think he could be “impartial.”

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“[It’s a] good thing to bring new voices to municipal boards, but I was alarmed by the reason,” he said during the meeting.

Dannison, who is the senior pastor at First Congregational Church, has been vocal about KDPS’ mishandling of a racist rally in Kalamazoo last month. He reserved Arcadia Festival Place on the day of the rally to hold a peaceful event opposite it and was present when violence broke out.

He told fellow board-members during Tuesday night’s meeting that his removal does not bode well for the independence of the CPSRAB.

“If people are removed from the police board simply for voicing their concerns about police action, it risks looking like the board is a sham or a rubber stamp for police,” he said.

Board members are appointed by the City Manager Jim Ritsema. He released a statement to WOOD TV 8.

“For this board to function properly, both the officers at KDPS and the citizens who bring forth complaints must have confidence that board members are impartial and perform their duties without bias,” read the statement. “Recent events, along with actions and words by Pastor Nathan Dannison, have led me to conclude he cannot be impartial and serve without bias.”

You can read more here.

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