Tampa mom among dozens pushing for citizen review board for TPD

By Dalia Dangerfield, Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, September 03, 2015, 8:30 PM EDT

A Tampa mom, whose son was shot by police, is pushing for a citizen review board for the Tampa Police Department.

Patti Silliman was one of dozens of residents who crowded council chambers Thursday.

Silliman's son, Jason Westcott, was killed when the SWAT team raided his home for drugs last year. Only $2 worth of marijuana was found during the raid of the home.

An internal police investigation ruled the shooting justified. Silliman disagreed and is suing the Tampa Police Department.

Silliman said she wants to see a citizen review board to protect other residents. It's why she wants to make sure the review board is an independent one.

"This needs to be bigger," said Patti Silliman. "This needs to be broader. This needs to be done by people in the community that aren't connected to the police department, the mayor."

Dozens of residents who attended Thursday's council meeting agreed. They told council members that the mayor's review board lacks the power to be effective.

"We all want the same thing," said Mid-Florida Regional Director of ACLU, Joyce Hamilton-Henry. "We want accountability."

Some council members also complained that the mayor would be allowed to handpick nine of the members to the citizen review board. The city council would pick the other two members.

During Thursday's council meeting, Chair Frank Reddick proposed changes that would allow city council to pick seven of the members. The council's plan is scheduled to go to a workshop on September 17.

The mayor is not in town to comment. He's on a business trip in Ireland.