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Cleveland council members want 'second chances' program re-examined after murder of Aisha Fraser

Posted at 10:48 PM, Nov 19, 2018
and last updated 2019-09-10 14:11:48-04

Some members of Cleveland City Council are calling for a re-examination of the city "second chances" program, after the tragic murder of Aisha Fraseron Nov. 17.

Police have arrested Fraser's ex-husband, Lance Mason, in connection with the case.

Mason was convicted on felony domestic violence charges for brutally beating Fraser in 2014, yet the city hired Mason as an administrator in 2017, under its second chances policy.

Cleveland council members Kevin Conwell and Tony Brancatelli are just two Cleveland council members who are calling for the policy to be re-examined, especially when hiring people who have felony domestic violence convictions.

"We're in tears, just a loss for words, it really hurt," Conwell said.

"Looking at domestic violence, as I mentioned earlier, we need to look at the policy and focus on domestic violence, broaden it for everybody and see where we're at."

Both Conwell and Brancatelli said members of council are not really involved in city hiring practices, that it's a decision for the administration and is a human resources issue.

Both backed the program and said Mason showed no signs of having the potential of being a repeat offender.

Still, Brancatelli also supported a re-evaluation of the second chances program.

"This is not anything anybody could have predicted, based on how he acted in the community and how he acted with us in public life.," Brancatelli said.

"We do want to give people an opportunity."

"Domestic violence is a whole new category of issue that we face, and especially when it's this violent. So I would suggest that we visit this in an appropriate manner."

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson backed up the policy and said there was no way anyone could have predicted Fraser's murder and Mason's arrest.

Jackson told News 5 he would not be re-examining the policy.

"No we're not going to say that," Jackson said.

"We're going to look at it as our policy, and our policy is second chance."

Jackson said there are also convicted murderers on the city payroll.

A statement that stunned Cleveland Councilman Michael Polensek.

Polensek said he's hoping there is enough oversight on the decisions to hire convicted felons.

"I hope we're taking enough care in what jobs we give to some of these violent offenders," Polensek said.

"Especially when it comes to convicted murderers and felony sex offenders."