Citizens for a Safer Cleveland Submit Signatures for Police Accountability Ballot Initiative

click to enlarge Brenda Bickerstaff speaks on the steps of Cleveland City Hall. - Courtesy Citizens for a Safer Cleveland
Courtesy Citizens for a Safer Cleveland
Brenda Bickerstaff speaks on the steps of Cleveland City Hall.

The grassroots coalition Citizens for a Safer Cleveland submitted signatures at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections Wednesday morning for a ballot initiative that would amend the city of Cleveland's charter to create stronger civilian oversight of the division of police.

The group says it gathered nearly 15,400 signatures, (more than double the total required). If verified, the measure would go before voters in the November election.

The amendment's provisions include strengthening the powers and resources of the civilian review board and eliminating the situation where the chief of police or public safety director disregard that body's disciplinary recommendations. It would also automatically make termination the presumed disciplinary response for racist, sexist or other bigoted conduct or language by officers on the job.

The Safer CLE initiative wants "every single Clevelander [to] play an important role in holding the Cleveland Police Department accountable" after decades of police violence and misconduct in Cleveland. The ballot initiative is also a response to year of lax or improper discipline meted out by public safety leadership.

“The impact of today’s signature turn-in is undeniable," said Black Lives Matter president LaTonya Goldsby, in a press release. "Although many of our families are still grieving the loss of a loved one, we are joining together in numbers from all over the city because for the first time, disciplining the Cleveland Police Department will be up to us, not certain politicians or city officials. By voting for powerful civilian oversight in November, we can protect all of our communities."

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Sam Allard

Sam Allard is the Senior Writer at Scene, in which capacity he covers politics and power and writes about movies when time permits. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the NEOMFA at Cleveland State. Prior to joining Scene, he was encamped in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on an...
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