South Bend Police Review Board Director Says He Won’t Resign, Issues Statement On Suspensions
South Bend’s new Community Police Review Board director Joshua Reynolds said he is not going to resign following last week’s revelation that he was suspended seven times during his work as an Indianapolis police officer.
Mayor James Mueller and Joshua Morgan, the vice president of the local Fraternal Order of Police board, want Reynolds to resign or be fired, the South Bend Tribune reported July 12.
In a seven-page statement released in the evening of July 13, Reynolds said he will not resign because the work of the board “is too important and must not be delayed any further.”
The statement goes into detail on two of the suspensions — a one-day suspension Reynolds received in 2009 for improperly entering a home during a foot chase, and a ten-day suspension in 2015 for an inappropriate comment he made on a friend’s Facebook photo.
When reached via text message on July 13, Reynolds declined to be interviewed. But last week, he told WPVE most of the suspensions were due to things he did wrong — and that he takes responsibility and has tried to make amends.
“We’re not talking about use of force complaints here. We’re not talking about criminal allegations against me, anything of that nature,” Reynolds said during the July 8 interview. “When we talk about holding officers accountable, I was held accountable.”
His July 13 statement also shares details on the alleged retaliation and harassment Reynolds received from the Indianapolis Metro Police Department after he reported two different officers.
In the statement, Reynolds alleges in 2013, he reported a fellow officer for ghost employment — or clocking in without working. He said he was removed from a specialized crime prevention team the next day as he was “no longer a good fit” and that “no actions were taken against the officer.”
And in 2015, Reynolds alleges he reported a supervisor for repeated harassment — in the statement, he said that supervisor told him he was not “man enough to work in a big city police department” and “intended to see that I was terminated.”
Reynolds said in the statement that after reporting the behavior, he was transferred to another district and was told he would be issued “issue formal disciplinary action for any infraction of department policy no matter how small.”
He said he reported his concerns to human resources, and eventually filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
After an investigation, he said the city paid him a cash settlement where he agreed to resign and not file a lawsuit. He left the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department in 2017.
In the statement, Reynolds said that “not one of these actions makes me unfit for the position,” and that he will serve as an “apolitical, neutral party.”
He also said he “should have done more to have these removed from my file and held the department accountable for their actions.”
City clerk Dawn Jones, whose office is in charge of the board and hired Reynolds, still supports him and wants him to lead the board. In a July 8 interview with WVPE, Jones said she was not aware of Reynolds’s suspensions before he was hired.
“Josh has been candid with me — he hasn’t withheld any information,” Jones said during the July 8 interview. “I don’t take anything in regard to the CPRB lightly.”
On July 12, the Tribune reported that Jones said the city’s human resources department — not her office — should have checked Reynolds’s disciplinary record as an Indianapolis officer before he was hired.
During a July 12 Common Council meeting, council president Karen White read a statement calling the revelations troubling.
“The council understands that the success of any such program requires not only the engagement of all stakeholders, but also trust in the process,” White said. “The council takes very seriously any challenge to that trust, and will work hard to preserve that trust.”
But White also said that at this time, the council could not share any details on what steps they plan to take.
“Due to state statutes and the Indiana open door law, council members cannot meet amongst themselves to deal with the issues,” White said. “Discussions must take place in public meetings after notice to the public. Action plans must be made at public meetings with public input, as well as a vote. Your input will be considered. Your trust will be earned.”
Activists had previously expressed concerns over Reynolds’s hiring and said they should have been more involved in the process.
He has agreed to participate in an August 4 public forum hosted by Black Lives Matter South Bend.
The board is still taking applications for membership. Submissions close on July 23, and the review and selection of applications will take place from July 26 to August 6. Board members will be announced in early August.
Contact Jakob at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @JakobLazzaro.
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