CLEDemands Justice Coalition Returns to Cleveland City Council

Protestors Interrupt Cleveland City Council Demanding Justice and Reform
By: #CLEDemands Justice Coalition / CDF-NAA Ohio
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Cleveland - Ohio - US

CLEVELAND - Dec. 9, 2014 - PRLog -- On December 8th, the #CLEDemands organizers gathered at city hall yet again to engage with the community and Cleveland City Council.  Almost an hour into the council meeting, protestors from Children’s Defense Fund’s New Abolitionist Association and other allied groups began protesting by reading the Department of Justice’s damning report against the Cleveland Division of Police.  One by one, members of the #CLEDemands coalition stood up reading excerpts of the DOJ report and chanting "McGrath must go," calling for the resignation of Cleveland Public Safety Director Mike McGrath.

Over forty protesters were led out after each outburst by police, but when Councilman Jeff Johnson made a similar call at the end of the meeting, members of the mayor's administration and staff got up as one and walked out, including Safety Director McGrath.

“This administration is sending conflicting messages to the community. The publication of the Department of Justice’s 59 page investigative report on the Cleveland Division of Police has lead to questionable responses from Mayor Jackson, Safety Director McGrath, and Police Chief Williams. The administration’s walkout of council further demonstrates that the Jackson administration is not in sync with The People. They claim to cooperate with the community; however, their actions do not seem to align with their statements.” – Jason Eugene, CDF-NAA Ohio

“Mayor Jackson has been quoted saying, “the buck stops with me” and “there is no justification for the shooting of a twelve year-old” and, the fact he was initially reported to have been reluctant to engage in critical reconstruction of the CDP plus supporting McGrath does not convey to us that the Jackson administration is interested in accountability.  It should also be noted that Safety Director McGrath, despite public outcry for his immediate resignation, has expressly refused to resign citing his “track record” and “28 years of service to the community.”  What McGrath fails to realize is we’re not interested what he has done in the past… what we’re interested in is justice and full accountability right now! Quasi apologies and statements will not bring back the lives of Tamir Rice or others killed by police, but taking accountability for what has happen under his watch and stepping down would definitely help the situation…”

The most recent direct action at City Hall involved other interruptions of Council proceedings, this time by Council members themselves. Council members Zach Reed, Jeff Johnson, and Brian Cummins and Joe Cimperman all came out in support of the community and voiced their concerns.

“Councilman Cummins really step-up and has been a huge help mediating things behind the scenes... Zach Reed and Jeff Johnson were also very out spoken.  We liked seeing our elected officials take action, even if they may not agree with our demands or tactics. As outgoing councilmember and former council president Sweeney stated, “This is The People’s house.””  - NAA Member

Over 150 protestors also participated in solidarity outside on the steps of city hall chanting and performing die-ins.

Despite the interruptions, #CLEDemands organizers will begin negotiations with a select group of city council members to take place Thursday, December 11th at Guide to Kulchur in Gordon Square. Councilman Matt Zone fulfilled is role as chair of the safety committee and set up the talks. Members of the media are welcome to attend this event.

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