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Akron Council President Wants Police Chief’s Resignation

Wednesday, December 19, 2007 at 5:30 AM

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Akron City Council President Marco Sommerville used the bully pulpit of his unanimous reelection to call for the resignation of the city's police chief. ideastream politics reporter Kymberli Hagelberg has more.

Marco Sommerville said he has been troubled by leadership problems in the administration of Akron Police Chief Michael Matulavich for quite some time. The council president was stung by the chief last March when he was not notified that a 19-year-old was killed after being stopped by Akron Police officers.

Sommerville, who is also a local funeral director, handled services for Demetrus Vinson and fielded outrage from the community when the African American man’s death was reported first as a police shooting, and as suicide a few days later.

Marco Sommerville: I didn’t want to know all the information, but at least have some information where I can at least calm everybody down. But when I asked him about it he said that’s not in his job description to call me, which I thought was pretty bad.

But Sommerville said it was other ongoing problems that convinced him it was time to voice his displeasure with Matulavich, who has been chief since 2000.

Marco Sommerville: I would like to see him out at night. I think that’s important for his men to see him out. That’s been expressed to me by other people.

Matulavich was appointed by Mayor Don Plusquellic, and cannot be forced out by council. Plusquellic could not be reached yesterday.

Matulavich told the Akron Beacon Journal he was blindsided by Sommerville’s comments and that he intends to stay until his contract ends in December 2008.

Kymberli Hagelberg, 90.3.

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