CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Branch of the NAACP, and the Norman S. Minor Bar Association, which represents Black attorneys in Northeast Ohio, are now calling for the removal of Cleveland Police Monitor Hassan Aden.
Brandon Brown, Vice President with the Norman S. Minor Bar Association, told News 5 his organization believes Aden has displayed a bias in favor of law enforcement and a lack of understanding about community concerns since becoming a monitor in 2019.
The monitoring team has been in place since 2015 to keep watch on progress made by the Cleveland Police Department since a federal consent decree determined the department had use-of-force issues.
Brown called for increased transparency from the monitoring team and took exception to Case Western Reserve University Associate Law Professor Ayesha Bell Hardaway being forced off of the team after Aden questioned her objectivity.
Bell Hardaway said Aden unfairly asked her to take a lesser role on the monitoring team and questioned her objectivity after she did a radio interview in April following the Derek Chauvin verdict in the police-involved death of George Floyd.
Bell Hardaway told News 5 while she's disappointed by the developments, she's hoping a capable replacement who truly understands the local community and Cleveland policing issues will take her place.
"There’s a need, there’s a dire need for there to be local subject matter expertise, paired with externally experienced individuals," Bell Hardaway said. “Understanding the needs, the concerns and the interests of those most impacted by police misconduct or unconstitutional policing — understanding those needs are a key component, an essential component.”
Brown said Bell Hardaway represents the Black community, the group most affected by the consent decree, and is the best expert on this subject.
"I don’t understand how someone who just speaks to the reason why police reform efforts are necessary in the first place somehow is deemed not objective," Bell Hardaway said. “This is not about me, this not about me being the only person that’s suited to do this work. This is about the people who are most impacted by police violence having a space and a voice at this table...and being able to feel as if their interests are represented by a local, qualified subject matter expert, whoever that may be. It does not have to be me, I feel very strongly that it does not have to be me."
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.
Meanwhile, Brown said several prominent Black organizations will be issuing a joint statement on June 23 in the continued effort to get Aden replaced and in support of the efforts made by Bell Hardaway.