The families of Craig Bickerstaff, Angelo Kirkman and Tamir Rice gathered on the steps of the Justice Center Tuesday afternoon, begging for a change to Cleveland’s Community Policing Plan.
All three young men were shot and killed by Cleveland Police officers — Craig 16 years ago, Angelo 11 years ago, and Tamir four years ago.
For the last eight weeks, Brenda Bickerstaff, Craig’s sister; Alicia Kirkman, Angelo’s mother and Samira Rice, Tamir’s mother have been working on recommendations to Cleveland’s Community and Problem-Oriented Policing Plan.
A draft of the 27-page plan was released in late May 2018 for public input. It’s part of the Justice Department consent decree.
But the families said the plan is too vague and isn’t specific enough.
Most importantly, they said, they want it to emphasize accountability for officers.
“Because accountability is very important,” said Alicia Kirkman. “We’re talking about lives that have been stolen. We’re talking about my baby who got killed at 17 with his hands up. We’re talking about other ones, loved ones, that have been killed with their hands up with no accountability.”
The families’ recommendations, written out in seven pages, include adding details about how to deal with those suffering from mental illness and disabilities. It also recommends specifying how officers should deal with children and requiring recruits to have an associate’s degree before becoming officers.
“We want accountability and we want transparency,” said Samaria Rice. “I’m hoping we will get it.”
Cleveland Police and the city of Cleveland sent News 5 the following statement in response:
The City of Cleveland, Division of Police is in the final stages of developing a CPOP plan that can be submitted to the court for approval. All recommendations received through the public input process are thoroughly reviewed by the parties and the monitoring team.
The plan and survey for community input are available by clicking here.