Citizens for a Safer Cleveland turned in 3,208 more signatures today, all but ensuring that Clevelanders will get to vote on real police accountability and oversight this fall.
An initial count by the Board of Elections determined that the campaign had fallen 384 signatures short of the required 6,270 to qualify a charter amendment for the ballot. The campaign was given a 15-day cure period to collect additional signatures, and days before the deadline, have turned in far more than the signatures needed.
“We’re confident we’ve collected enough signatures to qualify, and we can’t wait to start campaigning in every corner of the city to get out the vote for this commonsense policy to make Cleveland safer for everyone. The recent ousting of Ayesha Bell Hardaway from the current monitoring team that oversees implementation of the consent decree further proves that the police can’t police themselves,” said LaTonya Goldsby, President of Black Lives Matter Cleveland. “Our initiative ensures independent investigations of police misconduct, while providing for more community involvement in decisions regarding police discipline.”
The Cleveland Division of Police has been under a consent decree since 2014 after a DOJ investigation found a pattern of excessive use of force and other unconstitutional policing practices. The consent decree is poised to expire in 2022, and families of the victims of police violence — along with a diverse coalition of community advocates, including former police officers — view this initiative as a way to ensure permanent accountability over a police department that has failed to discipline its officers for the precise actions that led to the consent decree in the first place.
If passed, this ballot measure would expand the investigative and disciplinary powers of the Civilian Police Review Board, an independent body appointed by the Mayor that investigates alleged misconduct by police officers. It also establishes a permanent Community Police Commission to serve as the final city authority regarding the discipline of police officers, and it provides the community with an ongoing voice on policing and community safety policies.
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.