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Community leaders say professor who felt forced to resign from Cleveland Police Monitoring Team was 'diagnosing a problem'

NAACP calls for removal of Hassan Aden
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Posted at 10:49 AM, Jun 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-23 12:33:03-04

CLEVELAND — On the steps of Cleveland City Hall Wednesday, representatives from the NAACP, Black Lives Matter, the Norman S. Minor Bar Association and other community representatives called for the removal of Cleveland Police Monitor Hassan Aden after the alleged forced removal of Case Western Reserve University Professor Ayesha Bell Hardaway as part of the city’s police monitoring team.

RELATED: Community groups call for Cleveland police monitor Hassan Aden to step down

Brandon Brown, Vice President with the Norman S. Minor Bar Association, described Aden as someone who “lacks minimum qualifications for the position."

“Given his lack of experience using legal analysis and his lack of local expertise and failed experience in other cities as monitor such as Seattle, we cannot help but question his ability and his impartiality to serve as the monitor in Cleveland,” Brown said.

Brown said it is “imperative” that the monitoring team carry out its duty and hold the city accountable for making changes required under the consent decree.

“The monitor was not put in place to be a friend of the Cleveland Police Department," Brown said.

The NAACP wrote a letter to Mayor Frank Jackson and Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget Brennan voicing frustrations over Hardaway's dismissal. Click here to read it.

President of the NAACP Cleveland branch, Danielle Sydnor, called the Department of Justice's failure to step in following her resignation “unconscionable.”

“You would never fire a doctor for diagnosing a problem. Ayesha Bell Hardaway is diagnosing a problem. We have systemic issues in policing and it is our job to make sure that we have the reform that's necessary. No one wants to have a decree, but the reality is it's necessary to get the reform that our citizens need," said Sydnor.

Hardaway said she felt forced to resign from her role as a member of the Cleveland Police Monitoring Team after the Department of Justice and the City of Cleveland questioned her objectivity following comments she made on a radio show in April in which she discussed Derek Chauvin and George Floyd.

Case Western Reserve University said it was “deeply disturbed” that she felt forced to resign and called the situation disappointing.

"As a leading institution of higher education, Case Western Reserve values the free exchange of ideas as essential to learning and discovery. Indeed, our nation’s founders considered the concept so critical that they included freedom of speech in the Constitution’s first amendment. Yet Professor Hardaway’s on-air mention of systemic racial issues in American policing provoked such consternation that she no longer serves on a commission designed to ensure public accountability," CWRU stated.

RELATED: CWRU issues statement of support for professor who left Cleveland Police Monitoring Team

According to Hardaway's resignation letter, she resigned due to an attack on her reputation and the shrinking of her role on the team.

"Unsupported assertions that seek to malign my professional reputation is not something that I am willing to passively endure. Any acquiescence on my part to limit my engagement on the Monitoring Team to community issues that do not involve assessing compliance would give these baseless attacks on my professional objectivity unmerited credence," Hardaway wrote.

News 5 reached out to Cleveland Police Monitor Hassan Aden and City of Cleveland Implementation Coordinator Greg White for this story; we're still waiting for a response.

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