Roll Call For Police Reform

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Church members from around the Cleveland metro area packed the sanctuary of Olivet Institutional Baptist Church Tuesday night. To impress upon their special guests the breadth and diversity the group, they conducted a roll call of those in attendance from dozens of religious organizations: The Islamic Center of Cleveland, Beth Israel West Temple, Fairmont Presbyterian and Elizabeth Baptist Church, among others.

They came to present the mayor, the U.S. Attorney and a representative of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department with a platform for police reform. The list includes "bias-free policing," mandatory record-keeping of the race of all people stopped, searched or arrested, plus permanent structures for independent review of compliance with any consent decree that the city and the Justice Department may reach.

Mayor Frank Jackson promised to take the proposals into account and said Cleveland has the best opportunity its had in a long time to examine law enforcement and the judicial system. He said it involves looking not just at the police but at who gets stopped, who gets arrested and for what, who gets charged and what sentence they get.

Steven Dettelbach, the U.S. Attorney echoed the importance of the recommendations from the inter-faith group. He said, "This is an important group but not the only group, of course. GCC is now the 13th separate group that has provided written suggestions for comprehensive reform of the Cleveland Division of Police."

The eleven hundred people in the audience seemed pleased they were heard.

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