CLEVELAND, OH – Today, Stand Up For Ohio, in partnership with Black Lives Matter Cleveland, NAACP Cleveland, Showing Up For Racial Justice-NEO, and the ACLU of Ohio, launched a powerful new ballot campaign to ensure fair and independent investigations into police misconduct in Cleveland. View a recording of the press conference here, and attached is the ballot initiative petition.
For decades, Clevelanders have seen police officers assault or kill Black and brown people with no consequences. The newly-formed Citizens for a Safer Cleveland coalition will put real police accountability on the ballot this November and give a diverse board of community representatives the final say on police discipline.
“In Cleveland, there have been over 91 families who have been impacted by state-sanctioned police violence, and not one of those officers have been charged. That means over 91 times, a police officer has been allowed to get away with police misconduct and oftentimes murder. We must implement a permanent structure of police accountability and oversight,” said LaTonya Goldsby, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Cleveland.
“I’m saying to all 93 families out there in the city of Cleveland, my case is no different than anyone else’s case. That’s why it’s important that everyone comes out. We’re waiting for you, and we’re here to support you. Citizens for a Safer Cleveland is here to help heal that wound,” said Alicia Miller, the mother of 17-year-old Angelo Miller, who was shot and killed by Cleveland PD in 2007.
“Whether you’re a police officer, a family member, or a member of the public, we all deserve to be safe. Together, I stand here as a Black Shield member with the families of Citizens for a Safer Cleveland asking for this legislation to finally hold officers accountable. All we’re demanding is common-sense accountability,” said Richard Jackson, a retired Cleveland police officer and a Black Shield member.
“Our hope and our aspiration with this initiative is that by asserting greater civilian control over our division of police, as should rightly be the case, we will have the values of the community expressed in the accountability system. Because right now, those values aren’t being expressed,” noted Subodh Chandra, Cleveland civil rights attorney.
“This measure increases transparency, accountability, fairness, and public safety as we define it. It’s not just about good policies but ensuring good practice and accountability. It’s about having a seat at the table and safeguarding civilian oversight. The ACLU of Ohio is proud to endorse this charter amendment and stands with Citizens for a Safer Cleveland,” added Jocelyn Rosnick, policy director at the ACLU Of Ohio.
“The systems that we have in place are not working and that is evident because we continue to have issues. It is for that reason that the NAACP boldly supports the charter amendment and recognizes for us, as a community, to truly have safety, we must have a permanent voice in the oversight of our police. Our community deserves to have a fair independent body that investigates claims of police misconduct and of any case of lethal force,” said Danielle Sydnor, president of Cleveland NAACP.
Citizens for a Safer Cleveland represents a broad group of concerned organizations and individuals who are working together to strengthen community oversight of the police, deliver justice for our families, and ensure that our communities can feel safe and secure. The group is led by families who have lost a loved one to police violence, and supported by organizations like Stand Up For Ohio, Black Lives Matter Cleveland, NAACP Cleveland, Showing Up for Racial Justice-NEO, and the ACLU of Ohio.
Stand Up For Ohio (SUFO) is a coalition of community, student, faith, labor, and policy groups committed to building a coordinated movement for racial, social, and economic justice in Ohio. Since 2007, Stand Up for Ohio has run large-scale 501(c)4 electoral programs in cities across the state, knocking on hundreds of thousands of doors and engaging thousands of Ohioans in trainings, house meetings, and direct actions related to economic and racial justice.