CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Cincinnati protesters, along with community and civil rights activists and groups, held a news conference on the steps of City Hall Thursday to demand policy changes in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
The list of demands provided by the Ohio Justice & Policy Center is as follows:
A detailed list of demands will be provided Thursday evening, OJPC says.
Several speakers advocated for the dismissal of charges against protesters arrested for nonviolent crimes. Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Aftab Pureval was among them, saying, “These protesters embody the best of the American ideal."
A Cincinnati Police Department spokesperson said CPD is “open to speaking with demonstrators and listening to their concerns.”
The spokesperson continued: “We have made substantial progress in the City of Cincinnati as a police department. If [the protesters] are looking to implement broad systemic or organizational changes they should be directing those types of requests to the governor or attorney general’s office since the state oversees law enforcement training curriculum & recommends standards.”
Mayor John Cranley said: "These recommendations need a full airing and review, but they are worthy of consideration.”
Cranley’s full letter to the protesters is embedded at the end of this article.
The protesters’ demands generally revolve around the landmark 2002 Collaborative Agreement.
The CA was the cornerstone of the city’s post-2001 riot police reforms to try to improve relations between the police force and the Cincinnati community it protects and serves. It required police to adopt community-oriented policing as a strategy and to make other reforms, including in the way use of force was tracked and recorded.
A refresh of the CA began in 2018.
It remains unclear the extent to which the protesters’ list of demands overlaps with policies already in place from the CA (or policies once in place that have since been discontinued.)
In a February 2020 Op-Ed in the Cincinnati Enquirer, Mayor John Cranley, City Manager Patrick Duhaney and Police Chief Eliot Isaac said of the CA: “The values underpinning that historic agreement guide all that we do. In fact, we are taking more action in the spirit of the Collaborative Agreement than ever before. And it’s working.”
They went on to cite statistics showing a 36 percent reduction in serious crime, a 50 percent reduction in arrests and a 60 percent reduction in traffic stops.
“By focusing on repeat violent offenses rather than high-volume misdemeanors,” the authors wrote, “Cincinnati police have reduced the violence, reduced the sense that African American communities are “over-policed,” and have increased public trust in law enforcement.”
Several of the protesters’ demands were previously suggested by Councilperson P.G. Sittenfeld Monday, when he took to Twitter to announce a list of policy measures in response to the protests.
Sittenfeld’s measures include, among others: Immediately reconvening the CA’s Manager’s Advisory Group; fully funding the CA’s Citizen Complaint Authority; and making it illegal for CPD to hire officers who were previously fired or who resigned while being investigated for serious misconduct and/or excessive force.
Sittenfeld submitted a motion to council Wednesday outlining the measures he plans to take.
Mayor John Cranley issued the following statement Monday prior to the news conference: