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CLE activists: Changes in police arbitration needed in cases of police misconduct

Posted at 10:27 PM, Nov 02, 2018
and last updated 2019-09-10 14:27:04-04

Some Northeast Ohio activists believe the police arbitration process is broken when it comes to cases involving police use of force and alleged police misconduct.

Al Porter, president of Black on Black Cleveland believes flaws in the arbitration process play of role in continued police use of force issues.

Porter pointed to recent cases in Euclid and Cleveland.

Last month, arbitrators approved restoring the jobs of Euclid officer Michael Amiott, after he was fired for a violent arrest last year, and Cleveland officer Alan Buford, after Buford was terminated for the police shooting death of 18-year-old Brandon Jones.

"It's putting us in a hopeless situation right now if you don't deal with arbitration the way it is," Porter said. "Right now there is no logical stop to be able to say we are going to hold these officers accountable."

"Cities and Mayors need to stand tough on the collective bargaining agreement and say wait a minute, arbitrators, there needs to be some other guidelines, and I'm going to fight you tooth and nail," Porter said.

Judy Martin, the founder of Survivors/Victims of Tragedy, told News 5 arbitrators too often consider rulings they made on other cases of police misconduct the evaluated in the in the past.

"They need to have more independent thinking, they can't base their decisions on decisions made in the past," Martin said. "Police unions, why don't they stand up and say, we will not tolerate any more officers giving us a bad name."

Meanwhile, Porter believes police departments need to improve the quality of their internal investigations into officers misconduct, and cities need to a better job in presenting these cases to arbitrators.

"It's ludicrous; it's insane," Porter said. "If we don't deal with the arbitrators, then what will happen is no mayor will feel like doing their job because they'll feel like if 'I do it, I'm going to be over-ruled anyway.'"

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