Breonna Taylor San Diego
San Diego Police officers guard the San Diego Police Department headquarters in downtown as protesters gather on Sept. 23, 2020. / File photo by Adriana Heldiz

This post originally appeared in the Jan. 24 Morning Report. Subscribe here.

Thursday, just hours after we published a story about community groups’ frustration with a draft of the ordinance that will implement stronger police oversight in San Diego, a new draft was posted to the city’s website with several changes that addressed many community concerns. But the last-minute changes left the groups with little time to review and digest the updates before a Friday afternoon meeting when the City Council’s Public Services & Livable Neighborhoods Committee would vote on the draft.

Andrea St. Julian, who authored Measure B, the ballot measure that laid the foundation for stronger oversight, said she was “grateful and encouraged by the committee’s willingness to change the proposed ordinance,” but she asked committee members to delay their vote to give the community more time to review the amendments.

One lingering issue is a ban on anyone with a felony on their record from serving on the commission, unless that person can meet a series of requirements that speakers at Friday’s meeting described as having a deterrent effect. The new draft also doesn’t spell out whether commission investigators will have access to police-shooting scenes — something reform advocates say is key to for a thorough investigation — and advocates urged the committee to add stronger wording to the ordinance’s section on access to records.

“The records section needs to be more robust,” said Doug Case, a member of the interim Commission on Police Practices. “We need unfettered access to all records maintained by the city.”

The committee voted to move the draft forward to the full City Council despite the requests for a delay, but promised that many of the issues raised by the public could be ironed out when the commission drafts its standard operating procedures.

Monica Montgomery Steppe, whose office has overseen the writing of the implementation ordinance, said the goal was to create a law “that meets the spirit and intent of Measure B and is also legally permissible under local and state laws.”

As for the felony ban — something councilmembers Raul Campillo, Vivian Moreno and Marni von Wilpert objected to — Montgomery Steppe committed to possibly amending that part of the ordinance, but said the issue needed further exploration.

Kelly Davis is a freelance journalist focusing on criminal justice and social issues. Follow her on Twitter @kellylynndavis or send an email to

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