The leader of minority Democrats in the Ohio House says it’s time to take recommendations and reports on community policing off the shelf and put them in action.
Ohio House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) says it’s time for the state legislature to put into action recommendations made by a task force under the Kasich administration. Those recommendations include better training for police officers, better tracking of officer involved shootings and a public education campaign. And she says this must happen right away.
“Your friends who are black or people of color are not ok. Continuously watching black bodies be brutalized is damaging. It is traumatizing," Sykes says.
Sykes says many black Ohioans are hurting right now and need the space to mourn. Many who attended protests statewide over the weekend to decry the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis say police officers were heavy handed and resorted to using pepper spray when it wasn’t warranted. In Columbus, Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (D-Columbus) was hit with pepper spray during a skirmish with police and some people standing on a sidewalk near her. Two local Columbus officials were also sprayed.
In December 2014, after police involved shootings of Tamir Rice and John Crawford, the Kasich administration formed a task force to look into reforms. The group issued its findings in April 2015. But the money needed to implement those reforms has never materialized