Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Mayor Frank Jackson fires, demotes Cleveland police supervisors over deadly 137 bullets police shooting of unarmed Blacks Malissa Williams and Tim Russell,.... activists at war with Councilmen Johnson and Conwell over deadly shooting, traffic cameras that target Black community, ....FEDS, U.S. District Attorney Steve Dettlelbach meet with Black community at Olivet church on shooting, ....activists say Councilman Johnson has fogotten that they supported him when he got in trouble as a state senator

Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell
By Kathy Wray Coleman, editor-in-chief,  Cleveland Urban News.Com and The Kathy Wray Coleman Online News Blog.Com, Ohio's No 1 and No 2 online Black newspapers (www.clevelandurbannews.comReach Cleveland Urban News.Com by email at and by phone at 216-659-0473

Cleveland Mayor
Frank Jackson
CLEVELAND, Ohio- Racial unrest continues to mount in Cleveland's Black community with Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson firing a police sergeant, demoting two other supervisors, and suspending a handful of other mid-level police managers on Monday following the gangsta-style deadly 137 bullets shooting late last year of unarmed Blacks Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell by a group of  13 Cleveland police officers, 12 White and one Hispanic. 

And some Cleveland City Council members, mainly Ward 9 Councilman Kevin Conwell and Ward 8 Councilman Jeff Johnson, both outspoken and Black, are in an all out war with community activists around the controversy.
Ward 9 Councilman
Kevin Conwell
Community activists say that Conwell and Johnson are protecting Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath, whom activists have called to resign, and Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty, also targeted for resignation by the activists, and who will not push for a Cuyahoga County Grand Jury indictment on criminal charges of the 13 police officers that did the shooting, none of whom have faced discipline and all of whom are still on the job.
Cleveland Police Chief
Michael McGrath

Ward 8 Councilman
Jeff Johnson
Both councilmen endorsed the temperamental McGinty, a former common pleas judge, for election for county prosecutor last year.

During a heated community forum last Thursday at the Glenville YMCA on safety with Chief McGrath and sponsored by Conwell, who chairs city council's safety committee, Johnson became irate and snatched the mike from Community Activist Don Bryant, who leads the Greater Cleveland Immigrant Support Network. 
Community Activist
Don Bryant

Bryant wanted to ask a question around the shooting, an issue that he has become passionate about, and Johnson had decided that enough questions had been asked on the subject by activists, and sought to quell Bryant's free speech, activity that has seemingly backfired.
Bryant is an aggressive but smart activist, and he protested at City Hall in April during a rally by activists over the deadly shooting  with a sign calling for McGinty to recuse himself from investigating it since he took campaign money and an endorsement from the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association. 
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor
Tim McGinty

A seasoned community organizer who is White and 57 years old , and supported by a coalition of activist groups across racial lines such as Black on Black Crime, the Oppressed People's Nation, the Imperial Women and Peace in the Hood, Bryant filed a police report against Johnson saying that Johnson committed misdemeanor assault when he allegedly hit his wrist after snatching the mike. 

On Friday Johnson, in turn, took on the matter on a local radio show on WERE AM and accused Bryant, in an on air dispute by the two, of being a "White man coming into the Black community."

Johnson was also angry after community activists hounded him and Conwell at Thursday's  forum for pushing a city ordinance that Conwell introduced and was passed by city council two weeks ago that puts 42 more traffic cameras at street intersections throughout Cleveland, an abundance of them in poor communities on the city's largely Black east side.  

Whether anything will materialize of Bryant's police report against Johnson, who is not without support either, remains to be seen, and is unlikely, given the mayor's control over the prosecutorial process through his handpicked law director. But one thing is clear, community activists are not backing down around the celebrated shooting.

"Councilman Johnson must have forgotten that community activists fought for him when he got in trouble as a state senator and now he is turning his back on us to support police that have done wrong," said Community Activist Amy Hurd, who is among a coalition of activists and community affiliates still upset over the celebrated shooting.  

But is there enough anger around the shooting to generate changes in public policy for the betterment of the Black community, or even criminal charges against the police officers that gunned down two innocent and unarmed Black people, one a Black woman 30 years old and in the prime of her life, and the other a Black man, 43?
U.S. District Attorney
Steve Dettelbach

To complicate matters further, residents and community activists that attended a forum at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church Tuesday evening were told by the FEDS, through U.S. District Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio Steve Dettelbach, that though the U.S. Justice Department had been sent in partly because of the shooting and systemic problems in the predominantly Black city's majority White Cleveland Police Department that their authority is limited.

Dettelbach, who has led at least three community forums around the shooting since the U.S. Department of Justice sent the FEDS in earlier this year,  told residents and activists and elected officials there, including Cleveland Councilwoman Mamie Mitchell and state Sen Shirley Smith (D-21), that the community must marshal elected officials and groups like the Cleveland Chapter NAACP to fight the celebrated issue and any other public concerns about police conduct. 
Community Activist
Donna Walker Brown

"I was told when I asked at the meeting with the FEDS at Olivet tonight  for them to takeover the Cleveland Police Department that they have no such authority and that community must work with groups to make the changes," said Community Activist Donna Walker Brown, also a candidate for Cleveland City Council Ward 10.