Police Commission member having doubts

Posted at 9:37 PM, Apr 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-29 21:37:06-04

A key member of Cleveland’s community police commission is second-guessing the commission's work.

NewsChannel 5’s Lauren Wilson spoke exclusively with him and he told her he expected more out of the process.

“I believe that we can do more outreach and engagement to the overall residents of the city of Cleveland,” said Anthony Body, member of the Cleveland Police Commission.

Not even 6 months in he has already been getting frustrated with the process.

“I knew what I signed up for when I originally signed up for the Cleveland Police Commission, but I feel like folks, others on the commission may have had a different idea,” Body said. “I think they essential believe we have more power than we actually have.”

The commission was court ordered by the Department of Justice through the consent decree after their findings of Cleveland police officers use of excessive force, including the 2014 shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.

“They as a commission are trying to explore ways of ensuring that folks from across Cleveland can be heard,” said Matthew Barge, Monitor for the Commission.

But Body says the attempt to bring the right voices or the needed voices to the table have been pretty slim.

“One of the things that’s always mentioned on the commission is experts, so an expert is a professor, a police officer, or whomever, but who better an expert than a resident who goes through this stuff on a daily basis… it hasn’t been much of an effort to bring them to the table, to get their voice,” he said.

The other issue he said is the finger constantly being pointed too much in one direction.

“Reform is not going to happen by just solely pointing the finger at the police. Police are fallible, wer’re all fallible, we don’t want to have those…that real dialog about what truly occurs in the hood. Some people die unjustly, others deservingly get things happening to them.”

When I asked the monitor of the commission his thoughts, he told me he respects Anthony's opinion, but says it just takes time to work these things out.

“There’s a lot of work to do…and so I think there is a little bit of room to make sure that throughout the process people’s views are respected and heard…but that’s always going to be a challenge."

Body tells me he’s made his thoughts known in the meetings, but nothing’s happened yet and while he still plans to remain on the commission, he tells me he wants to branch off on his own to do the work he believes really needs to be done.

“My goal is to sort start my own subgroup. I feel like we could branch out and have a broader reach into the community.”

He also mentioned that his criticism of the group doesn’t mean that everything is all bad.

“I feel the commission is doing decent work, doing a good job some great recommendations from the people we’ve interacted with,” said Body.

The members of the committee meet every month to deliberate and work on their recommendations. As for Anthony, he has already formed his subgroup with 7 individuals, from all over the community. Right now, there's no set date when that group will meet.