Embattled South Bend Police Review Board director officially resigns

Sep 10, 2021

A city spokesperson says South Bend Community Police Review Board Director Joshua Reynolds resigned Aug. 20.
Credit Jakob Lazzaro / WVPE

After months of controversy, Joshua Reynolds has officially resigned as director of South Bend’s Community Police Review Board. 

A city spokesperson said Friday that Reynolds resigned Aug. 20, shortly before the South Bend Common Council introduced a pair of bills to strip Reynolds of his salary

 

Two weeks before that, the council voted to move oversight of the police review board from the clerk’s office to the mayor’s office until the election of a new clerk in 2023.

 

City Clerk Dawn Jones received backlash for hiring Reynolds in May, after the South Bend Tribune obtained records showing he was suspended seven times during his time in the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

 

Reynolds maintained that at least some of the suspensions were issued in retaliation to him reporting fellow IMPD officers for ghost employment. But said that most were due to things he did wrong.

 

“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 in a July 8 interview with WVPE. “When we talk about holding officers accountable, I was held accountable.”

 

Jones refused to fire Reynolds, and he previously refused to step down, despite Mayor James Mueller’s requests that he do so. 

 

“This work is too important and must not be delayed any further,” Reynolds said in a July 13 statement

 

The common council established the police review board in October 2020 after more than a year of discussions with the community. Calls for independent police oversight began when Eric Logan, a Black man, was shot and killed by a white South Bend police officer in the summer of 2019.

 

Many community members felt Reynolds’ hiring in May lacked transparency, raising concerns even before his suspensions were revealed. Activists also opposed the council’s vote to move the review board to the mayor’s office, saying it would jeopardize the political independence of the board.

 

A city spokesperson said Friday that Mueller is committed to working with the council and will “utilize their recommendations in selecting a new director.”

 

“I’m glad this embarrassing episode is over,” Mueller said in a statement. “I look forward to working with the common council to hire a new director and move the review board forward.”

 

The council is set to vote on moving funds for the review board director’s salary from the clerk’s office to the mayor’s office Monday. The city says the director position should be advertised in the coming days.

 

Contact Gemma at gdicarlo@wvpe.org or follow her on Twitter at @gemma_dicarlo.

 

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