CINCINNATI (FOX19) - On the grounds of Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Avondale, protesters calling for criminal justice reform heard from a former Hamilton County judge who explained the disparities in the justice system he saw inside the courtroom.
Before starting their march down Reading Road, leaders from the religious community and former judge Fanon Rucker spoke to the protesters.
“There would be a recommendation about dismissal of charges for one person and then two people later why there was a recommendation that there was not a dismissal for the same exact charges for the same exact charge for people of similar records,” explained Rucker. “Unfortunately, a couple of those confrontations I had were along racial lines.”
The importance of voting was also a major message from the organizers of the protest.
Several voter registration tables were set up to encourage people to vote. One of those who registered on Saturday was Reginald Dillard.
“I’m not about to try to miss this election," Dillard said.
Rucker said voting is one major way to change issues in the justice system.
“Neighborhoods have to actively engage in the process for them to exercise that power,” Rucker said.
Rucker believes those same voters should also reinvest in the collaborative legal agreement from 2002 that brought community and police together to bring forth policing reform.
“There has to be a re-up on the commitment," Rucker said. "Not just by police and city officials, but also in the community say, ‘we’re also willing to do our part to help to build that relationship.’”
The former judge did not talk about specific new reforms to police but did say there is always room for change.
Marching protesters say change is exactly what they are looking for in the wake of what happened to George Floyd.
Rucker is running against Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters in this year’s election.