Santa Monica City Hall (File photo)

Community members with information, documents and other materials related to the events of May 31 are invited to participate in an upcoming listening session hosted by the OIR Group, which has been tasked with preparing an independent report that analyzes the recent civil unrest and response by the Santa Monica Police Department.

The listening session has been organized to allow the OIR Group a chance to hear directly from members of the public as it begins to shape findings and recommendations. The session will air live on Santa Monica CityTV Channel 16 and stream on the City’s YouTube channel 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17, but residents must register online at bit.ly/OIRreport in order to speak at the meeting.

Since the peaceful protest for racial justice and significant looting occurred in the Downtown area more than five months ago, Santa Monicans have awaited two reports on the incident. The first was supposed to be an after-action report listing the timeline and facts, and the second would provide an analysis of the facts. City officials said publicly that the first report would be finished back in August, but the police department later shared it was unable to prepare the document and handle regular police work.

In response, council authorized staff to combine both reports into a single document and hire OIR Group to conduct the after-action analysis, which is already underway. The analysis will be headed by Michael Gennaco, a former federal prosecutor with expertise on use-of-force and oversight in policing.

Earlier this month, Gennaco and the team of police-practices experts talked to former SMPD Chief Cynthia Renaud, who provided internal documents that helped recreate the key events from the period. They are currently in the process of reviewing those materials and using them as a basis for framing the next lines of inquiry and identifying other key personnel within the Department to interview, according to a recently released report. “More recently, (the Interim City Attorney) provided us with copies of the civil claims for damages that have been filed against the City in conjunction with May 31 events; these claims cover a range of alleged harms and reflect the different ways that business owners, residents, and demonstrators experienced the day’s happenings.”

“In Santa Monica, we’re just getting started but we’ve received a tranche of information,” Gennaco added in an interview Friday. “And we look forward to hearing directly from community members and their first hand insights to the activities in May as well as anybody else who may be concerned with the activities.”

Having heard critiques from business owners, residents and other stakeholders, Gennaco said he believes the after action report will sort out the facts. “We also intend to advise recommendations that, if implemented, would make the city better prepared to address similar instances on an ongoing basis.”

There have been 22 felony arrests and the department is pursuing 120 active cases that still have workable leads. In total, there have been 306 total incidents related to the civil unrest and nearly 75 percent of the incidents were acts of non-residential looting or crimes related to vandalism, according to SMPD officials.

Residents who cannot make the upcoming listening session may instead provide email comments, together with any photographs, video-links, or other documents to michael.gennaco@oirgroup.com.

Brennon@@smdp.com