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Watching The Cops
See other Watching The Cops Articles

Title: Families, victims of officer misconduct say Cleveland police reform is still necessary (video)
Source: cleveland.com
URL Source: http://www.cleveland.com/metro/inde ... ies_victims_of_officer_mi.html
Published: Apr 27, 2017
Author: Eric Heisig
Post Date: 2017-04-27 18:10:06 by cranky
Keywords: None
Views: 351
Comments: 1

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made it clear that he feels the types of large-scale police reform efforts undertaken by Barack Obama's Justice Department, much like the binding federal agreement with Cleveland's police department, are unnecessary.

For the people affected by past misconduct by officers within Cleveland police, reform is more important now as it has ever been.

The city entered into its consent-decree agreement with the Justice Department in May 2015. In doing so, it acknowledged its police department had problems that warranted a drastic reworking in how it operates and how officers interact with residents.

People like Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association President Steve Loomis, who has been a vocal critic of the consent decree, view President Donald Trump's election as an opportunity to pull back on the reforms. However, the city and the judge overseeing the reform effort have both said that they're committed to the agreement, regardless of the shift in priorities within the new Justice Department.

Cleveland.com asked five people whose lives were dramatically altered by Cleveland police the question: "Why do you think police reform is important in Cleveland?" The responses have been edited for clarity, but the substance of their statements remain intact.

(You can see a video of their statements above)

Samaria Rice

Samaria Rice is the mother of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was shot to death by a Cleveland police officer at Cudell Recreation Center in November 2014. Tamir was carrying an airsoft pellet gun at the time.

"I believe in Cleveland, Ohio, police reform is very necessary because they are really desensitized to the human life and also very much like a military terrorizing gang. And also I just don't believe that they really care so much about minorities or when it comes to black people, because it seems like when it comes to us, we get it the harshest and the worst.

"It kind of reminds me of a Gestapo military prison style, where the oppressed is still being oppressed and oppressed and oppressed, so that's what I think about all American government, all the policing across America at this point. I don't trust them and it's just a shame. Something needs to happen with this government, with the Constitution, and police reform across the board. Like, something really needs to happen."

Bernadette Rolen

Rolen is the mother of Dan Ficker, who was shot and killed by Cleveland police officer Matthew Craska during a July 4, 2011 confrontation outside of Ficker's home in Parma.

"Police reform is so important. I mean if there were some things in practice in 2011, when my son was killed by the Cleveland police, he may still be alive today. They illegally went into Parma, they crossed the lines without notifying Parma they were coming to Parma, which they were not allowed to do.

"I mean there are so many changes that have to happen for those things to stop happening. To stop using excessive force when they don't need to, to stop breaking all the policies when they don't need to, to be trained better on how to handle these situations, which obviously they don't know to handle because my son was not the only one that was killed by the hands of the Cleveland police because of things that they did wrong."

Edward Henderson

Henderson, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, led police on a chase across town on Cleveland's East Side on Jan. 1, 2011. He crashed his van near East 38th Street and Marginal Road.

Several officers then approached Henderson after he surrendered and kicked him as he lay on the ground. Henderson suffered a detached retina and broken eye socket in the beating.

"I believe police reform in Cleveland is important because it's a preventative measure. It will incorporate a sense of trust from the community, civilians, that nature, and a sense of transparency when it comes to the police department. And as far as the Cleveland police department at the moment, we don't have that and we've never had that, ever.

"And that's pretty much the issue there and with it being a preventative measure, it will save the city a lot of money, it will save the taxpayers a lot of money. It will really build upon something that's constructive and productive for the community. And that's my opinion."

Cassandra Johnson

Johnson is the mother of Tanisha Anderson, a 37-year-old woman who died in police custody in November 2014 after she was placed in handcuffs and taken to the ground by police officers.

 "I think police reform is necessary because it will stop a lot of killings. Unnecessary killing. Train the police, teach them how to talk to the mentally ill person. Let them know before they get here, 'This is the call you're going to. This is a mentally ill person,' so they'll know how to address it. Especially if there's not a weapon involved. 
"Talk to them [the mentally ill]. Ask them what colors do they like. If it's a sunny day, 'Sure is nice out here.'" Try to take them away from what they're feeling and get them some help. That's why it's necessary. It's needed.

"They talk about de-escalating, but you don't see any of that anymore. All you see is unnecessary killings. Not just here in Cleveland -- everywhere. There's more talk about it than ever. More talk about the police killing than I've ever heard in my life. And a lot of these things that you see with your own eyes, you say, 'That was not necessary.' Because we have rights. We have rights as citizens. So if you're not threatening them or putting their life in danger, what gives you the right to take mine?"

Michelle Russell

Michelle Russell is the sister of Timothy Russell, who along with Malissa Williams was killed in a hail of gunfire following a 22-mile police chase in November 2012.

"I think it's definitely necessary in Cleveland because there are issues. I mean, there's definitely stats and facts that show that people are being racially profiled, that things are going on that shouldn't be happening. And I think that we have to be honest about that because if you really think about it, for people that don't feel that [police reform is] necessary, they either are not aware of the facts and the stats that are out there or they don't care."

"And we really need to address it because people shouldn't be targeted because they're a certain color or a certain race or whatever. It's just not right and I think that because so much of this is happening, and it's obvious. ... There's so many cases a lot of people may not be aware of, so I'm going to say that for those people, if they were to research and see, they would obviously come to the conclusion that we do need the reform in Cleveland."

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#1. To: cranky (#0)

"Tamir was carrying an airsoft pellet gun at the time."

With the orange safety tip cut off, making it look like a real gun -- which he was pointing at people in the park.

misterwhite  posted on  2017-04-27   18:17:18 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

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