Police reform advocates slam Cleveland officials over budget cuts to Community Police Commission
Cleveland City Council and Mayor Justin Bibb reached a deal Monday on a city budget for 2023, but the deal strips out additional funding that the mayor's budget had included beyond the minimum required by the charter amendment that created the Community Police Commission. Some residents criticized council on Monday night for cutting the additional funding.
The newly-seated commission was born out of a citizen-led ballot initiative that voters approved in November 2021.
The mayor’s original $2.3 million budget proposal for the commission this year included $224,000 more than the minimum required by the charter amendment.
In 2022, council approved a $2.1 million budget, but only about $500,000 was spent because the commission was not seated until December.
Some residents took to the public comment podium to slam Bibb’s decision to cede that funding.
Bibb was a supporter of the charter amendment and other police reform measures throughout his campaign.
“Now that the mayor is elected, it appears he has had a change of heart,” said Kareem Henton, a Ward 14 resident.
Henton also took aim at City Council President Blaine Griffin for being one of council’s members who previously expressed skepticism about the charter amendment.
“You all or many here resist the idea of defunding the police, but embrace defunding the committee that oversees police,” Henton said to council members.
In Monday’s finance committee meeting, Griffin described the cut funds as extra money.
“We did not cut what they were originally voted for and what they were originally allocated for,” he said in defense of the new budget.
Still, supporters say that money is necessary.
“To cut the Community Police Commission’s budget does a disservice to the community and to the residents of Cleveland who supported and voted for this commission,” said Black Lives Matter Cleveland President LaTonya Goldsby.