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State College Borough Council Agrees To Create Community Oversight Board As Part of Police Reform

In this file photo, marchers participate in a May 31, 2020, protest in State College against police brutality and racism.
Min Xian

In a special meeting Tuesday night, State College Borough Council approved a resolution calling for racial justice and the creation of a community oversight board to address bias and racism.

Council voted unanimously to create an oversight board to address discrimination, bias and racism by local government and police. The resolution calls for it to be formed by Aug. 1. Councilman Evan Myers said it was time to take action. 

“Black men and women are dying at the hands of vigilantes and police, and we need to do all we can to stop that," Myers said.

Myers noted the steps in the resolution are recommendations, and borough Council will have to pass ordinances to implement most of them.

The motion follows demands by community activists known as the 3/20 coalition. The group is also calling for the identification of the officers involved in the fatal shooting of Osaze Osagie on March 20, 2019, in State College. Osagie was an African-American who was shot by police during a mental health check at his apartment.

“If you want healing in the community, then there needs to be truth and reconciliation to do it," said Leslie Laing, one of about five people to comment during the meeting, which took place on Zoom.

Council will have a session on June 29 to discuss topics including police training and compensation.

Anne Danahy has been a reporter at WPSU since fall 2017. Before crossing over to radio, she was a reporter at the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pennsylvania, and she worked in communications at Penn State. She is married with cats.
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