Metro Board votes to create transit police oversight panel to monitor investigations

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The panel will conduct an “independent and impartial review” of transit police to improve trust between the transit police department and the public.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority will assemble a new oversight panel that will hold the transit agency’s police officers accountable for investigations, DCist reported Tuesday.

The Metro’s Board of Directors unanimously voted to create a seven-person panel composed of community members and “command-level” police officers from D.C., Maryland and Virginia who will monitor the Metro Transit Police Department’s investigations and suggest policy changes following a quarterly review, according to DCist. The vote comes as the first step in a plan the agency announced earlier this month to crack down on a pattern of disciplinary action and excessive force disproportionately targeting Black riders on trains and buses.

The MTPD Investigations Review Panel will consist of three community members who must apply for a position on the panel and three police officers each representing one sector of the DMV-region plus one at-large member that the Board will appoint. A summary of the panel’s responsibilities states the panel will conduct an “independent and impartial review” of transit police to improve trust between the transit police department and the public.

The panel will meet in private sessions but will post its findings on Metro’s website following legal department approval, according to DCist.

DCist outlined several recent instances of misconduct within Metro’s police force, including the arrest of a 13-year-old boy, a competition among officers for the most arrests and citations, a lawsuit filed against an officer who repeatedly tased a civilian and a Department of Justice indictment of an MTPD officer for two civil rights violations.

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