Investigation Clears Statehouse Security, Lawmaker Wants Bias To Be Recognized

Aug 3, 2018

An internal review of Ohio Statehouse security found no unprofessional conduct or bias during interactions with an African American state lawmaker who was trying to enter the building. But she says the report glosses over the bigger issue. 

Democratic Representative Emilia Sykes believes she was treated unfairly when she tried to enter the Statehouse and her state office building because she’s black and a woman.

An investigation by the Ohio State Highway Patrol says Sykes was searched and screened because her badge was inactive, something that was done to every other lawmaker in a similar situation.

But as Sykes contends, there was still an innate bias that singled her out.

“That does not make any of the troopers bad people, it does not make them a bad trooper, it makes them a human and knowing that, you have to do things to correct it,” says Sykes, who wants Statehouse security officials to recognize that bias and alter training accordingly.

In a letter to Sykes, the state highway patrol invites her to observe their security operations and offer recommendations.