Police Advisory Boards Continue to Crumble in Western New York
It’s looking like the trend of dissolving police advisory boards is continuing in Western New York - most recently with our neighbors in Rochester.
The killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in 2020 put a national spotlight on the discourse between local police departments and the citizens they are sworn to protect and serve. As a response, cities around the country have been forming publicly-funded groups designed to keep local police departments accountable for their actions.
Recently, Buffalo made an attempt at forming its own Police Advisory Board, but it was dissolved in March of this past year - fueled by reports of in-fighting, miscommunication, and mass resignation.
The Police Accountability Board in Rochester, just formed in 2019, is potentially enduring the same fate, but from an entirely different scandal - sexual harassment.
In an essay posted to medium.com, Conor Dwyer Reynolds, the Executive Director of Rochester’s Police Accountability Board, accused his superior, PAB Chairwoman Shani Wilson, of making inappropriate sexual advances, outing his bisexuality, and threatening/enacting retaliation against his reporting of the harassment.
“Shani humiliated and ridiculed me at work. She hugged and touched me without my consent. She told me intimate details about the sex lives of mutual friends and spread rumors about my sexual preferences with others. Whenever I tried to draw boundaries and maintain a professional relationship, Shani would threaten me for not “acting like her friend” while reminding me of her romantic feelings toward me. What made this particularly awful, however, was the way it worked to exploit or distort my sexual orientation — for example, when Shani ordered me to end a romantic relationship I had with a woman while encouraging me to date men.” - Conor Dwyer Reynolds
Dwyer Reynolds goes on to allege in the post that after he informed her he would report the harassment to Rochester’s PAB members, she responded by telling him “I’m going to hurt you because you hurt me.”
Subsequently, he was suspended from his duties on May 18th and stated in his essay he still hasn’t been informed why he was suspended.
You can read the entirety of the post here.