Councilmen don't see eye to eye on how to combat Black on Black violence

Published: Apr. 13, 2012 at 10:24 PM EDT
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Combating Black on Black violence is a goal for city councilmen Christopher Smitherman and Cecil Thomas, but they differ on how it should be done.

Smitherman has asked Thomas, who heads council's Public Safety Committee, to hold a special public meeting.

Thomas replied by saying he's working to get funding restored to the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence, or CIRV which had its budget cut by 80-percent in 2009.

Smitherman then sent back an email telling Thomas that his answer was totally unacceptable.  Smitherman is now calling for a special session of council to be held Monday April 23rd where dozens of speakers have been invited.  He says he wants to see a comprehensive approach to the problem. "City hall has to become responsible and take ownership of this problem."

Pastor Pete Mingo, a CIRV volunteer and ex-convict says there are no quick fixes. "The situation in Cincinnati did not come as it is overnight and these new initiatives that the chief is bringing in are working...they're successful. Word has gotten around...a lot of guys who are doing wrong are hesitant about some of the things they're doing and some of them are picking up shop and moving elsewhere, but it takes time."

CIRV program manager Reggie Brazzile says the answer also lies in more community involvement. "What's starting to change is mothers and fathers being responsible in the home, knowing where your children are at all time, having some discipline in the home. "

In our commitment to balanced news FOX19 reached out to councilman Thomas for comment, but he declined an on camera interview.  However, in his reply to Smitherman, Thomas said "The solution to our problem rests in the political will of this council to support CIRV and reinstate those parts that were lost."