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Police Review Panel Members Resign

Police Review Panel Members Resign



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A tug-of-war between Salt Lake City's mayor, police chief and a civilian review board has resulted in the resignation of two board members.

Board chairman Dan Levin, a University of Utah political science professor, and vice chairwoman Susan Webster, president of communications company, both submitted letters of resignation to Mayor Rocky Anderson this week.

Board member Nafitalai Unga Kioa, who works for the U.S. Postal Service, said he plans to resign Monday.

The resignations are reportedly linked to a city investigation into the "leak" of a board decision to The Salt Lake Tribune, and to the refusal of police Chief Chris Burbank to implement board recommendations.

Anderson spokesman Patrick Thronson and Burbank both refused comment on the resignations.

"Their resignations can be characterized as protest resignations," board member and Democratic state Sen. Scott McCoy said. "We don't appreciate having our names dragged through the mud in the leak investigation when we had nothing to do with it."

The city hired a private investigator to investigate who disclosed to a reporter the board's sustained allegations of excessive force in an incident involving police and an unarmed man at Liberty Park.

McCoy called the investigation and overreaction because the story was printed just days before a quarterly board report would have become public, revealing the same information. He says the probe by a private investigator included a request for the private phone records of board members and a threat of prosecution.

The investigation did not uncover the source of the leak, McCoy said.

Thronson defended the investigation, which he said was important to maintaining the police department's disciplinary process.

Kioa says the board has other issues, including struggling to get the police department's cooperation.

"We were running up against a wall to get certain files in cases," Kioa said.

The resignations leave the 14-member board with just six voting members. Several positions vacated last fall have not been filled.

Anderson plans to fill board vacancies, Thronson said.

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Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, http://www.sltrib.com

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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