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Police reform measures begin in Akron and continue in Cleveland in seventh year of consent decree

A stack of newspapers on a table.
A stack of newspapers on a table.

Akron City Council this week passed Mayor Dan Horrigan’s plan to create a civilian police review board.  The mayor’s plan calls for the creation of an 11-member board that will review complaints against Akron Police and provide input on the department’s training, policies and procedures.   The mayor will pick six of the board’s members, with council’s consent and council will select the other five. 

The push for more police oversight and transparency ramped up after the June police shooting death of Jayland Walker, an unarmed black man. The vote on Mayor Horrigan’s plan came just weeks after council approved a ballot measure on a citizens-led push to create a civilian police review board---one that voters will decide on the November ballot.

 Cleveland and its police department are seven years into a federal consent decree aimed at reforming policies and improving its relationship to the community. But the city and the federal monitor overseeing the implementation of the consent decree have differing views on the progress that has been made since 2015. The city was placed under the consent decree after an investigation determined the department engaged in a pattern of excessive force.

Police reforms championed by Governor Mike DeWine will not be moving forward in the Ohio Statehouse. The governor pushed for the reforms including banning the use of chokeholds in most instances, requiring independent investigators in use-of-force incidents and having police recruits pass a psychological assessment before entering the police academy. DeWine originally called for the reforms in 2020 after the death of George Floyd  and again this year after the death of Jayland Walker in Akron.

Ohioans are on the move to help in Florida after the destruction caused by Hurricane Ian.The massive storm came ashore Wednesday as a powerful Category 4 storm bringing winds in excess of 150-miles per hour, heavy rain and a dangerous storm surge. At least a dozen deaths have been blamed on the storm so far and emergency officials say there could be “substantial loss of life.” Millions are without power.  Infrastructure has been damaged including part of the Sanibel Causeway which collapsed.

 Two Ohio television stations have landed debates with United States Senate candidates Tim Ryan and JD Vance. The two will debate on October 10 hosted by WJW,  Channel 8 in Cleveland.  They will debate again on October 17 hosted by WFMJ in Youngstown. The debate announcements come after the Ohio Debate Commission which Ideastream Public Media is a part of—canceled its planned debates for Senate and governor after Vance and DeWine declined to take part.

Anna Huntsman, Akron-Canton Reporter, Ideastream Public Media 
Matt Richmond, Criminal Justice Reporter, Ideastream Public Media 
Andy Chow, News Editor, Ohio Public Radio Statehouse News Bureau