By Rich Weiss, for Neighborhood & Community Media Association of Greater Cleveland
The Neighborhood and Community Media Association of Greater Cleveland (NCMA-CLE) is providing monthly reports on a series of community conversations about the 2015 Consent Decree negotiated between the US Department of Justice and the City of Cleveland regarding the policies and practices of the Cleveland Police Department.
“On a scale of 1 to 10, what percentage of the Consent Decree [is] considered to be completed? 10 percent, 30 percent, 70 percent?”
“Do you think the Community Police Commission (CPC) should play a more significant role with enforcement power? And are there any down sides to shifting disciplinary enforcement power from the Chief of Police?”
“Why should Clevelanders believe that the CPD can police itself and its behavior without significant oversight from citizens, since we’ve had two federal probes and we still are underneath a Consent Decree beyond its five-year deadline?”
These were among the questions being asked and answered during the monthly conversations held online about the workings of Cleveland’s Consent Decree. The September meeting focused on the “Cleveland Police Commission and Citizen Involvement.”
Latoya Logan, Cleveland Police Commissioner, was asked why she decided to volunteer as a community member to fill a seat on the Commission. She replied, “I think if you ask most individuals who have given time to this process, they would say the Consent Decree was created to address a long history of police abuse within the City of Cleveland (and throughout the nation) that led to the over-policing of black and brown communities, police misconduct, improper arrests, deaths of more than 87 members of families within the City of Cleveland, including Craig Bickerstaff, Malissa Williams, Timothy Russel, Thomas Yatsko, Desmond Franklin, and we could go on. When you hear something like that, if it doesn’t call you—if it doesn’t pull you—if it doesn’t let you know that this isn’t an employment issue; this isn’t a crime issue; this isn’t a diction issue. This is an issue of not addressing what community members actually are looking forward to…for me, as a person who volunteers my time freely and willingly, this is something that you just do—this is about social justice.
The next meeting in the series is Wednesday, October 13, at 6:00 pm. The topic will be “Youth and Policing.”
Have you seen mandated changes in how the Cleveland Police Department interacts with the youth in our communities? How much input do Cleveland citizens have on the constitutionality, effectiveness and community-consistent values of our Cleveland Police services?
The Consent Decree between the City of Cleveland and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) mandated a CPC be established to bring community input in the process of police reform. The Commission’s charge is to win crucial community input on police practices to help ensure “that police services in Cleveland are delivered in a manner that is constitutional, effective, and consistent with community values, while preserving officer and public safety.”
The public is invited and encouraged to participate in these sessions to help in the monitoring process. These conversations, sponsored by United Way of Greater Cleveland and the Cleveland NAACP, are conducted via Zoom on the second Wednesday of each month.
To attend the next meeting, ask questions, or voice your concerns, register for any of the two remaining Consent Decree public meetings by visiting unitedwaycleveland.org.