Mayor Byron W. Brown on Friday named 12 members of an advisory panel to examine the city's police practices and make recommendations within 60 days.
In a statement released Friday, Brown said the group will be tasked with recommending new police policies, as well as developing a strategy to improve the social and economic prospects for Buffalo's minority residents.
He has asked the group to create a report within 60 days.
Brown first pledged to create the commission in June as part of a package of policing changes aimed at shifting the city's policing to a "restorative model."
In the statement, Brown shared a written endorsement of the commission by Buffalo Common Council President Darius Pridgen, who said the creation of such a commission was requested by city lawmakers.
“My hope is that they will thoughtfully and deliberately conduct a thorough review of the Buffalo Police Department’s policies and then propose such revisions that will create a radical shift in policing throughout the City of Buffalo,” Pridgen said.
In addition to examining police practices, Brown said, the commission will be charged with developing and recommending other steps the city can take to create opportunities for Black and brown residents, improve city services in high-need communities of color and address economic inequality.
Brown said the commission represents a diverse set of leaders in the areas of civil rights, social justice activism, law enforcement, community services, labor, higher education and city government.
Its members include: Leslie Bishop of Citizen Action of New York; Angela Blue of the NAACP and Western New York Area Labor Federation; Lucy Candelario of the Belle Community Center; former Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael McCabe; retired New York State Police trooper Elton Mitchell; Christian Parra of Free the People WNY Coalition; Brian Patterson, clinical assistant professor of criminal justice at Medaille College and a retired Buffalo Police Department chief; Rev. Rachelle Robinson, of the Concerned Clergy Coalition of WNY; John Torrey, professor at SUNY Buffalo State; Councilmember David Rivera; and Councilmember Mitch Nowakowski. Shatorah Donovan, the city's chief diversity officer, will serve as an ex-officio member.
Brown's announcement Friday came as citizens continued to rally for changes to city policing.
Friday's rally was the sixth one organized by local activist groups since Sunday, a day after 60-year-old Willie Henley was shot in the abdomen by a police officer after Henley, described as a mentally ill homeless man, struck another officer with a bat after police responded to a mental health emergency call.
Friday's rally was dubbed "pink slip Friday," and included more than 100 protesters who marched from Genesee and Ash streets to Buffalo Police Department headquarters on Court Street.
At the end of the rally calling for changes to policing Friday, one of the organizers, India Walton, was asked what she thought about the mayor's new commission. Walton questioned the need for another citizen advisory board when others already exist and are at the mayor's disposal to address police reforms and other issues.
"In addition to the Police Advisory Board, we also have the Commission on Citizen Rights and Community Relations, that has subpoena power. So it's curious to me that, why would the mayor establish yet another commission with no teeth, so to speak?" said Walton.