The organization tasked with analyzing the events that led up to and followed the civil unrest that occurred in Santa Monica on May 31, 2020, will host another listening session Tuesday, and residents who were affected by the events are invited to participate.
This week’s listening session was organized to allow the OIR Group a chance to hear directly from members of the public as it continues to craft the recommendations that will be presented to City Council and Santa Monica Police Department leaders in the future.
The session will air live on Santa Monica CityTV Channel 16 and stream on the City’s YouTube channel from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19. Michael Gennaco, a former federal prosecutor who is heading the after-action analysis efforts, is expected to moderate the second community listening session that’s been held since the peaceful protest for racial justice and significant looting occurred in the Downtown area nearly eight months ago.
In November, dozens of local stakeholders joined Gennaco and his team to recount their experiences with the police department and share their frustrations with the delay of two reports that were supposed to be completed last year.
Former SMPD Chief Cynthia Renaud is no longer with the department but Gennaco and his team of police-practices experts said they already talked to Renaud and were provided with internal documents that helped recreate the key events from the period. Gennaco also noted mutual-aid and the deployment of resources are both topics that OIR Group intends to encompass into the coming reviews.
“There will be follow up and this report is intended to be an unvarnished report of what happened. In our view, that’s the only way it can be in order for us to be better prepared as a community for similar events in the future,” Gennaco said, mentioning OIR Group has been provided with a wealth of material from the time period. “So we are confident… we’ll have sufficient information upon which we can then move to our next phase, which is to provide recommendations.”
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’s website.
“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,” Gennaco said prior to the last session.
Residents who cannot make Tuesday’s session may instead provide email comments, together with any photographs, video-links, or other documents to firstname.lastname@example.org.