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Councilman calling for action as Cleveland's violent crime rises

Follows shooting of 5 people at city park Monday
Posted at 5:43 PM, Aug 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-19 19:08:20-04

CLEVELAND — Cleveland City Councilman Kevin Bishop is calling for more action from city police amid rising violent crime on the city's streets.

It comes just days after police said five people were shot in the Union-Miles neighborhood during a vigil in Dove Park to remember a man shot and killed four years ago.

"I think the community is hurting because of the gunshots, the people being shot, and the lackluster action that's coming from parts of government, so I do think people are dissatisfied," said Bishop, a member of the council's Public Safety Committee.

Bishop said he has not heard a solid plan for addressing the rise in crime from police.

Last week, Chief Calvin Williams said homicides are up 24% in the city compared to the same period a year ago. Other violent crimes including robberies and felonious assaults involving weapons are also up in 2020.

"I think we have to discuss this in our safety committee," said Bishop. "We have to insist police become more aggressive in fighting these crimes and fighting these instances."

In Monday's attack, a victim told police that 200 people, including kids, gathered for the vigil when someone started shooting.

Al Green, who said he was a friend of the man friends gathered to remember, said the threat of violence kept him at home that night.

"That gathering around everybody, getting together, I have seen this play out too many times," said Green as he stood in front of a memorial to his friend Wednesday.

Green called it sad that not even a vigil was immune to the violence that's rocked Cleveland this year.

"It should be respect when you see something like this," said Green. "It should be respect, but it's not like that."

Green said he once ran with the worst guys in the neighborhood. He said it landed him in prison three times. He said he turned his life around 14 years ago after the birth of his son.

Now, as he reflected on what's happening in the city, he worries other young men won't live long enough to have the chance to do the same.

"I would have loved to come up here on that day," said Green as he looked out across Dove Park. "I love to cook. Pull out my grill, cook for the kids, cook for the community, everything free. Let's have fun. It ain't like that over here."