Sec­ond law­suit is filed over polic­ing state­ment


The Herald Sun - - Local - BY DAWN BAUMGARTNER VAUGHAN [email protected]­sob­

A sec­ond law­suit has been filed against Durham lead­ers over a City Coun­cil state­ment on mil­i­ta­rized polic­ing that had a ref­er­ence to Is­rael.

A law­suit filed in Su­pe­rior Court by Durham County res­i­dent Deb­o­rah Fried­man on Dec. 6 claims that Mayor Steve Schewel’s emails from his per­sonal email ac­count to other City Coun­cil members vi­o­lates open meetings law. At­tor­ney Jonathan D. Jones of J.D. Jones Law in Durham is rep­re­sent­ing Fried­man.

On April 16, the Durham City Coun­cil en­dorsed a state­ment op­pos­ing mil­i­ta­rized polic­ing that in­cluded a ref­er­ence to Is­rael in a memo from the po­lice chief. At a work-ses­sion meeting on April 5, Schewel in­tro­duced the polic­ing state­ment, which the coun­cil voted unan­i­mously to en­dorse af­ter hours of pub­lic com­ment at the April 16 meeting.

The Fried­man law­suit in­cludes two emails from Schewel sent to three coun­cil members, each from his per­sonal email ad­dress. The emails in­cluded the polic­ing state­ment he wrote and a memo about polic­ing from Po­lice Chief C.J. Davis that is ref­er­enced in the state­ment.

Schewel is quoted from his email in the law­suit telling coun­cil members that he “la­bored long and hard over it and I hope it meets your ap­proval. My plan is to in­tro­duce it at the work ses­sion and put it on the agenda for coun­cil ap­proval on April 16. I’m sure the pub­lic will want to dis­cuss it then.”

The law­suit claims that Schewel’s emails were an “elec­tronic meeting” and that no pub­lic no­tice was given.

An­other law­suit was filed this fall re­lated to the polic­ing state­ment, too. That civil dis­crim­i­na­tion law­suit was filed by two vol­un­teer Is­raeli po­lice of­fi­cers against the city of Durham and Po­lice Chief C.J. Davis.

A draft re­port of a Durham Hu­man Re­la­tions

Com­mis­sion sub­com­mit­tee about the polic­ing state­ment says that Coun­cil members use per­sonal email too much for city busi­ness in­stead of their coun­cil email ad­dresses. The Hu­man Re­la­tions Com­mis­sion, an ad­vi­sory board ap­pointed by City Coun­cil, has not voted on the draft re­port yet. It may at its Jan­uary meeting or later be­fore mak­ing a rec­om­men­da­tion to the coun­cil. The draft also says the state­ment caused ten­sion in the com­mu­nity. Jewish lead­ers have called for the state­ment to be re­vised to ex­clude the ref­er­ence to Is­rael.

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