TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — A member of the Citizens Police Review Board (CPRB) for the city of Tallahassee is openly calling to “abolish police.”
CPRB member Taylor Biro, an LGBTQ activist who works as Director of Strategic Initiatives for Florida Council Against Sexual Violence, defended her stance in a Tallahassee Democrat article on November 21. The story followed weeks of public scrutiny over an anti-police message on Biro’s coffee mug, which she has allegedly brought to CPRB meetings. Tallahassee Reports obtained and published a photo of the mug.
“I am an abolitionist,” Biro told the Democrat. “I believe that punitive responses to poverty are not going to be viable solutions for our community in the immediate or the long run. I have never shied away from wearing my values on my sleeve, or on my cup, and that's why I have that sticker on there.”
After initial reports indicated the message on the mug read “F*ck the Police,” WCTV reported on November 17 that “Biro denied bringing a mug with such a message to a CPRB meeting.” In the photo of Biro’s mug, a different sticker with a phrase that includes the word “F*ck” can be seen just below the “abolish police.”
Rather than clarifying the exact anti-police message on her coffee cup, Biro said at the time: “The story keeps changing and this seems to be a divisive distraction.”
BIRO’S PREVIOUS COMMENTS
Although Biro was not initially forthcoming about the mug, she did broadcast her desire to abolish police in an op-ed for the Tallahassee Democrat last November. Notably, the Democrat also published a flattering profile on Biro in April with the headline: “25 Women for 2022: Taylor Biro believes ‘we are stronger when we're connected.’”
“Don’t ask us to recommend a policy or training to fix this, because policing isn’t broken, it’s performing exactly as it was designed,” Biro wrote in her op-ed. “We cannot remove the eggs from a cake after it comes out of the oven. Sometimes you just need a new recipe.”
Following the op-ed, Florida Politics reported that Tallahassee Inspector General Dennis Sutton expressed concern over the entire board’s bias against policing.
“There is a concern by the rank and file that this board is completely biased against the police department,” Sutton said at a subcommittee meeting.
POLICE UNION CALLS FOR REMOVAL
At a Tallahassee City Commission meeting on October 12, City Commissioner Dianne Williams-Cox argued that “we should consider removing [CPRB] members that consistently show a bias against the police.” Members of the board are required to be unbiased, according to the city’s official description of duties and responsibilities.
The CPRB was established in September 2020 and purportedly exists to “foster transparency, enhance communication, and ensure a relationship of trust and respect” between city police and the community by reviewing “internal affairs reports, cases, and issues relating to law enforcement that are of importance or of interest to the community.”
Members are appointed and voted on by City Commissioners, via nominations from organizations including “the League of Women Voters, the Urban League, Local Chambers of Commerce, the NAACP, the local chapter of the Florida Bar, local organizations of clergymen, and local mental health, juvenile justice or university/college associations.”