The Police Accountability Board still has several vacancies despite two appointments in as many months. Credit: Zac Farber

The Police Accountability Board is getting a new member, the second in as many months.

Councilmember Rigel Robinson nominated 27-year-old Joshua Cayetano, a third-year student at UC Berkeley School of Law with a background in police reform projects and a Pacifica native. The City Council confirmed the nomination Tuesday.

Cayetano has focused his studies, work and internships on civil rights, racial justice and police reform.

“On the investigations side, I’m interested in the PAB continuing to give people an opportunity to be heard and reducing the number of summary dismissals without a hearing,” Cayetano said in an email. “On the policy side, the board has had a lot of turnover recently, so I’m interested in working with my colleagues to advance policies that promote public accountability, safety and trust.”

While at Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut, Cayetano was active in organizing efforts to disarm university police after a university officer and a local police officer from nearby Hamden shot an unarmed Black couple in 2019, injuring one of them.

Joshua Cayetano is poised to join the Police Accountability Board, which will still have two regular vacancies and no alternate. Image: Courtesy City of Berkeley

“I also became familiar with New Haven’s Civilian Review Board by attending meetings and speaking with the alderpeople,” Cayetano said. “While a law student, I have focused my pro bono work on police reform and accountability.”

Cayetano co-led UC Berkeley School of Law’s Police Review Project, representing complainants before the Police Accountability Board.

Robinson said he’d first brought up Cayetano’s name in the spring but that “the procedures for background checks make sure that our candidates for the PAB are well-vetted, but do result in longer appointment timelines.”

Robinson said he was glad Cayetano could finally sit on the board. “It’s essential that the PAB have minimal vacancies so that they can make progress on the issues that Berkeley voters have empowered them to investigate.”

Two regular seats and an alternate seat are still vacant. Each council member and the mayor nominate a board member, subject to approval by the full council.

As recently as May, the board had only five members and had begun accumulating a backlog of work because of the vacancies. A sixth member, Brent Blackaby, joined last month.

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Alex N. Gecan joined Berkeleyside in 2023 as a senior reporter covering public safety. He has covered criminal justice, courts and breaking and local news for The Middletown Press, Stamford Advocate and...