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Supporters deliver 15,000 signatures to add Cleveland police oversight measure to November ballot

Would make Community Police Commission permanent
Posted at 5:07 PM, Jun 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-16 18:48:07-04

CLEVELAND — Supporters of an amendment to Cleveland's city charter that would increase community oversight of police said Wednesday they collected enough signatures to put the issue on the November ballot.

The group, which calls itself Citizens for a Safer Cleveland, said it collected more than 15,000 signatures on petitions and delivered those petitions to city hall Wednesday.

The proposal focuses on Cleveland's Community Police Commission.

The commission was formed under the city's consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice and is aimed at improving policing in the city.

But supporters of the amendment fear the commission could be eliminated once the consent decree goes away.

"It's going to leave one day," said Brenda Bickerstaff, who worked on the campaign. "And if it leaves one day, the problems are still going to be here."

Their proposal would make the commission permanent.

The Community Police Commission would also have final authority over officer discipline.

That responsibility currently lies with the police chief and public safety director.

The proposed amendment would also give the commission final authority over police policies, procedures and training.

Supporters said the measure puts police accountability on the ballot.

"With today's turn-in, this decision is no longer up to the politicians, the police or city officials," said LaTonya Goldsby, President of Black Lives Matter Cleveland. "For the first time in a long time, the outcome will be up to all of us, the people."

The city must still validate the signatures before the measure will officially be on November's ballot.

Neither the mayor's office nor Cleveland police have responded to requests for comment on the effort.