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City introduces an emergency ordinance to change its civilian police review board

Posted at 6:25 PM, Aug 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-04 08:58:24-04

Cleveland City Council is taking action to change its troubled Civilian Police Review Board by introducing an emergency ordinance with Mayor Frank Jackson which outlines a new structural plan for the group. 

"The city of Cleveland agreed in the consent decree with the Department of Justice that we were going to structural change the way the current police review board operates," said Councilman Matt Zone.

The move comes after NewsChannel 5 has repeatedly uncovered problems with the review board for years.

"When the community is aware of what's going on, and your reporting in particular, there's a back log of cases," Zone added.

The ordinance, which is expected to be voted on on Wednesday, August 10th, calls for nine members instead of seven. Five of the members will be appointed by the mayor. The other four will be appointed by city council. The new members will be appointed as the current members' terms expire.

Zone also said the new board will have representation from all police districts in the city, and there will be a member who is between the ages of 18-30 years old. No member will be currently serving as a law enforcement officer or be a current or former member of the Cleveland police department.

If passed, the measure will be placed on the November ballot for voters to decide.

But the Cleveland Community Police Commission, formed out of the consent decree to make recommendations for police reform, believes the measure needs to be more comprehensive.

"We like a lot of what's in this emergency ordinance, but it's just not enough for real change within the civilian complaint process as it stands today," said Mario Clopton, co-chair of the commission.

Clopton said the plan only addresses the make-up of the group and should also include include structural and authoritative changes as well as changes to the complaint process.

Thomas Jones, the head of the review board, and Damon Scott, the head of the Office of Professional Standards, which oversees the board and investigates cases, did not accept our interview request once again.

There will be a special session on Tuesday, Aug. 9th at 10 am for members of the public to offer feedback about the ordinance with city council members.