Groups Question Issue 33 Change to Police Review Board
The Cleveland Police Department continues to undergo changes under a federal consent decree. An eleven-member Community Police Commission is working on recommendations to reform the way the department operates.
Meanwhile the city is moving forward on some of the Commission’s recommendations to enlarge the Civilian Police Review Board, which deals with citizen complaints. But it’s getting some pushback. Ideastream’s Mark Urycki has details . .
The 7-member Police Review Board has been around since 1984 to investigate
police complaints of officer misconduct. It passes on recommendations to the police chief and mayor, to be examined by the Office of Professional Standards. City Council is asking residents to approve a charter change on the ballot next month that will increase the number of members from 7 to 9 and ensure that one member comes from each of Cleveland’s five police districts.
Some community activists are opposed to the proposal, saying Issue 33 doesn’t go far enough. Kareem Henton of Black Lives Matter says representation by district is, fine but the language should require the board to include groups he says are most affected by police misconduct..
“And those additional 4 are there and can represent mental health, can represent the handicapped, can represent the LGBTQ community. Pretty much you’re asking for specific wording just to ensure that people are not excluded. So that doesn’t mean the body has to be exclusive minorities of course.”
Councilman Matt Zone says it’s inappropriate to spell out affected groups in the charter because they change over time. He says the mayor and council will reflect the diversity of the community.
This all comes at a time when a city investigator found a backlog of 400 cases of citizen complaints, going back 3 years, is still waiting to be resolved.