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NAJEE’S NOTES: Rams are coming home

This has been one of the most exciting times in my life.

The reason: the announcement this week that the NFL owners said yes to Inglewood and approved a proposed Inglewood stadium, opening the door for the St. Louis Rams to return to Los Angeles for the first time since 1994.

Owners voted 30-2 in favor of the Inglewood stadium project over a joint bid between the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers to build a $1.7 billion stadium in Carson. The Chargers have the option to join the Rams in Inglewood or remain in San Diego. The NFL said the Chargers have one year to make a decision.

“I will be working over the next several weeks to explore the options that we have now created for ourselves to determine the best path forward for the Chargers,” owner Dean Spanos said in a statement. Earlier on Tuesday, a six-member NFL relocation committee recommended the joint bid between the Raiders and Chargers in Carson over Inglewood, but the rest of the owners favored the Inglewood project.

The Raiders later withdrew their considerations for relocating to L.A. If the Chargers do not move to L.A., the Raiders then have one year to decide if they want to join the Rams in Inglewood.

“The Raiders will now turn our attention to exploring all options to find a permanent stadium solution. We thank fans throughout the Raider Nation for their unrivaled passion and support,” the Raiders said in a statement.

Rams owner Stan Kroenke said the Rams offered the Chargers, “a partnership in the stadium as an owner, or we’ve offered lease arrangements. The team will have a choice of those options.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league would provide $100 million to both the Chargers and Raiders if they remain in their current cities. Kroenke has been vying to build a $1.8 billion stadium on land he owns in Inglewood, on the site of the old Hollywood Park. It looks like he will now get that opportunity.

“This decision is about what is in the best long-term interests of the Rams organization and the National Football League,” Kroenke said. “We would like to thank the National Football League, its owners, and the Committee on Los Angeles Opportunities for their diligence and dedication. We look forward to returning to Los Angeles and building a world-class NFL entertainment district in Inglewood.”

The Inglewood stadium will be ready for the 2019 season, according to Goodell. The Rams will likely begin playing at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in the 2016 season. The NFL return to Inglewood could not have happened had it not been for the all the hard work of Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts, who deserves credit for his vison and leadership.

The deal brokered by Butts and Kroenke will contribute hundreds of jobs to Inglewood residents and boost the city’s economy. This is a major game changer for our community and I can’t wait to attend the NFL games!

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck came through this week with a position and statement that’s rare and almost unheard of for any police chief to say. Beck recommended that Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey file criminal charges against LAPD officer Clifford Procter for the May 5, 2015 shooting death of Brendon Glenn, a homeless African-American who was killed in Venice.

Beck demonstrated courage and conviction that Lacey so far hasn’t shown with her unwillingness to file criminal charges against officers who have killed or beaten African-Americans and Latinos throughout L.A. County. Ezell Ford, Kendrec Mc Dade, Omar Abrego, Marlene Pinnock and now Brendan Glenn deserve justice that so far Lacey has not had the guts to give them.

Beck and I have not always seen eye to eye. I take pride in always holding the LAPD accountable and have lead my share of protests against the police since the Rodney King days. But I have always said I’m not anti-police. I’m anti-police abuse.

I have to give credit where credit is due and Beck came through in the clutch and delivered on behalf of a community that often cries out for justice against police murder and abuse. Beck, of course, is under fire from the Police Protective League, who denounced his call for the prosecution of Proctor. But to our community, Beck is a hero who stood up for the people by holding officer Procter accountable for the murder of an unarmed homeless black man. Beck is being commended for his leadership with the mayor chiming in with a statement of his own.

“As the district attorney reviews this case, my hope is that Chief Beck’s recommendation is considered with the utmost gravity. No one is above the law and whenever use-of-force crosses the line, it is our obligation to make sure that principle is upheld. Our officers perform heroic work every day, work that often goes unheralded. But accountability is fundamental to the trust that needs to exist between our officers and the people they serve — and maintaining that trust is essential to keeping our neighborhoods safe.” — Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The South L.A. civil rights leaders are pleased with Beck’s announcement but they continue to push for more transparency from the LAPD. This week Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable President Earl Ofari Hutchinson and Reverend K.W. Tulloss, president of the L.A. National Action Network, and other civil rights leaders called on Chief Beck to release the videotape of the slaying of. Glenn.

They also called for the mandatory public disclosure of all videotapes from private sources or police body cams in controversial use of force cases.

“Mayor Garcetti can ensure that we do not have another horrific situation that embroiled Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel in controversy by withholding from public view the videotape of the shooting of Laquan McDonald,” said the Rev. K.W. Tulloss, president of the L.A. National Action Network.

“It’s absolutely crucial that LAPD officials make full and timely public disclosure of videotapes either from private sources or body cams worn by officers of controversial use of force incidences such as the Brendon K. Glenn slaying on a timely basis,” Hutchinson said in a statement. “This strikes to the heart of the issue of fulfilling the public’s right to know as well as transparency in abuse cases. Mayor Garcetti’s public support of this call and the implementation of a policy mandating public disclosure of all tapes in controversial deadly force cases is crucial to bolster public confidence in the LAPD.”

I’m not sure how the mayor or chief will respond to the call by activists. Someone told me this week that they support the mayor and chief but it’s also their job to hold them accountable and help push them into greatness.

Big news from the county Board of Supervisors, who moved a step closer to launching Los Angeles County’s first-ever Civilian Oversight Commission, aimed at strengthening public trust in the Sheriff’s Department.

The Board voted unanimously to adopt a motion by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and Chair Hilda Solis that established guidelines for the commission’s membership, access to information, budget and staffing.

“There is a moral imperative to ensure that constitutional policing exists in the county’s communities and jails,” said Ridley-Thomas, the motion’s lead author. “The establishment of a permanent oversight entity without delay is well justified, and can play a vital role in promoting transparency, restoring public trust and validating reform efforts.”

“Approval of today’s motion is also a critical move toward fiscal responsibility,” Solis pointed out. “The county spends millions of taxpayer dollars settling lawsuits. That money could be spent on housing, services, or tax relief.”

The motion also drew praise from Jose Osuna, director of external affairs at Homeboy Industries, which provides job training to formerly gang-involved and previously incarcerated men and women, allowing them to become contributing members of society.

“We are highly encouraged by the commitment that is demonstrated by this motion to improve relationships between law enforcement, government, and the community,” Mr. Osuna told the Board.

Sheriff Jim McDonnell expressed support for the motion, saying, “I welcome the opportunity to work with the inspector general and to have the Civilian Oversight Commission be able to validate the good that’s being done ([by the Sheriff’s Department) on behalf of the public.”

Since the sheriff signed a memorandum of agreement last month to provide the inspector general with unprecedented access to information, the board will wait until May 31 before considering asking voters to give the commission subpoena powers via Charter amendment.

Raphael Sonenshein, executive director of the Pat Brown Institute at Cal State LA, supported the move.

“I agree with the makers of the motion that it is worthwhile to allow the sheriff to demonstrate that his voluntary agreement to share information with the commission will be sufficient,” he told the board. “[Afterwards], the supervisors can consider what, if any, changes should be made involving subpoena power and changes to state law.Under the motion, the five supervisors would each appoint a commissioner.

“The board as a whole would appoint four other commissioners from a pool of candidates recruited by a consultant. In an effort to diversity the expertise and perspective of commission members, the board decided not to ban former LASD personnel from serving on the commission — but they would be eligible only if they had been on civilian status for at least a year.

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