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Federal Judge Says Cleveland Consent Decree Monitor Will Remain In Job

Hassan Aden was named Cleveland's police monitor in 2019, after serving as deputy monitor under Matthew Barge. [Justin Glanville / Ideastream Public Media]
Monitor Hassan Aden oversees the consent decree between Cleveland and the U.S. Department of Justice

District Court Judge Solomon Oliver announced through a court filing in the Northern District of Ohio Thursday that Hassan Aden will remain in his role as Cleveland Police Monitor.

“The Court hereby declares its support for Mr. Aden in his ongoing role as Monitor,” wrote Oliver. “During my oversight of the Consent Decree, I have deferred, within reason, to the Monitor in the management and composition of the Monitoring Team.”

The announcement comes a month after Deputy Monitor Ayesha Bell Hardaway was forced to resign. Hardaway’s resignation, in response to Aden’s attempt to move her away from oversight of the city’s compliance with the consent decree and into a community engagement role, was met with widespread condemnation.

The Cleveland chapter of the NAACP, the Norman S. Minor Bar Association and Black Lives Matter Cleveland all called on Oliver to replace Aden.

Hardaway’s employer, Case Western Reserve University, and the U.S. Attorney’s office in Cleveland both also expressed concern about her departure in public statements.

“The Court is aware of various statements made by individuals and community organizations on this matter,” Oliver wrote, before addressing Aden’s July 8 offer to Hardaway to return to the monitoring team. “I accept and respect Mr. Aden’s decision to return Ms. Bell-Hardaway, who has been a valuable member of that team, to the position of Deputy Director, if she is willing.”

Hardaway says she is still considering whether to return.

The consent decree between the U.S. Department of Justice and city of Cleveland is in its sixth year. It was originally intended to end after five, but the city and its police department are in the middle of a two-year extension. The city has said it could seek to end the decree as early as next year, which would require approval from Judge Oliver.

Requirements like extensive data collection on investigatory stops, searches and use-of-force incidents, as well as expanded community engagement at all levels of the department are still far from complete.

Matthew Richmond is a reporter/producer focused on criminal justice issues at Ideastream Public Media.