Cleveland Urban News..Com Blog, a blog of Ohio's most read online Black newspaper. Articles herein include Journalist Kathy Wray Coleman's one-on-one interview with now U.S. President Barack Obama
Saturday, July 18, 2015
The Rev Jimmy Gates resigns from panel that will choose Cleveland Police Commission for police reforms relative to consent decree after the Plain Dealer Newspaper exposes his criminal past....The Imperial Women Coalition support the resignation and say Gates harassed them and dared them to rally last year as to the annual anniversary of the Imperial Avenue Murders.....Mayor Jackson and District Attorney Steve Dettelbach say Gates has changed his wicked ways....By Cleveland Urban News.Com, Ohio's leader in Black digital news
CLEVELAND, Ohio-The Rev Jimmy Gates, a Black Cleveland preacher who went to prison in 2003 for taking bribes as a top official under former Cleveland mayor Jane Campbellthat Mayor Frank Jackson and U.S. District Attorney Steve Dettelbach recently announced as one of 11 panelists chosen to select people for the city's court-ordered 10-member community Cleveland Police Commission, has resigned. Gates also pleaded guilty in 2012 for a mortgagee crime. In the matter of United States v. City of Cleveland (1:15-cv-1046) officials representing Jackson and Dettelbach, on behalf of U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, negotiated the consent decree under court oversight and following findings last year by the DOJ of systemic problems in the city's largely White Cleveland Police Department. Those scathing findings include a pattern of illegal excessive force killings, vicious pistil whippings of innocent women and children, and cruel and unusual punishment against the mentally ill. The police commission is required relative to the consent decree approved on June 12 by Federal District Court Chief Judge Solomon Oliver. A Jackson ally, Gate's name was chosen from more than 100 submissions, including businessmen, religious leaders, healthcare professionals, and academics. In 2007, Gates, who preaches at Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church on Cleveland's largely Black east side, pleaded guilty to splitting $40,000 in bribes in 2003. At the time he was the assistant director in the Cleveland Water Department. He served 14 months of a 19-month federal prison sentence. He became a Baptist preacher, which essentially requires no credentials, thereafter. Gates was also convicted in 2012 in common pleas court for mortgagee crimes for his role in a $5.1-million mortgage fraud scheme that took place from 2004 to 2006, including buying a stolen home. He pleaded guilty in that case and got community service. Jackson and Dettelbach, the district attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, which includes the city of Cleveland, praised Gate's community service in recent years and said he was a good fit for the panel. But the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Ohio's largest newspaper, blasted Gates and Jackson, both of them Black, in subsequent news stories, coupled with publishing a cartoon linking Jackson and Gates, but not Dettelbach, who is White, to Democratic public corruption. The cartoon shows Gates wearing a suit with former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora and former county auditor Frank Russo, both in jail garb, the pair serving over 20 years each in federal prison for convictions of crimes in office per a public corruption probe. The probe became public in 2008 and has netted some 60 guilty pleas or convictions, mainly from businessman and county Democratic party operatives like Russo and Dimora, also the former chairman of the Cuyahoga County Democratic party. Last year Gates was accused of harassing greater Cleveland women activists relative to their annual violence against women rally on the anniversary of the serial killings of 11 Black women by death row inmate Anthony Sowell at his now demolished home on Imperial Avenue on the city's east side. Gates told Cleveland News Net 5 television for a subsequently published story that activists could not rally last year in front of where Sowell's home was stood, and that he and other Mount Pleasant preachers were spearheading a memorial plot there with price tag of $250,000. He said that city councilman Ken Johnson and other Black preachers were holding an event on the anniversary and that no community activists would be allowed to speak. (Editor's note: Channel 5 News, led by News Director Jeff Harris, who is White, often publishes favorable stories for Mayor Jackson, research shows, and will harass outspoken Black activists, mainly women).
Led by community activist Kathy Wray Coleman, who leads the grassroots group the Imperial Women Coalition, the activists, and family members of Black women murdered in Cleveland, among others, picketed the event that day saying then that Gates was a fraud, as was the Rev Eugene Ward, who had pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of choking and assaulting one of his his ex-wives, the latter of three of them, when they were married.
The $250,000 memorial, which Gates and Ward said would be completed by April, never materialized, and the effort to stop the annual rally that has occurred since 2010 was what activists said was a scheme to quiet violence against women and to ensure that the Imperial Avenue families lawsuits were dismissed without community support.
"We believe in second chances, particularity for Black men, but Rev Gates, in my opinion, is a poor role model who harasses women, and a fraud," said Coleman. "And for these Black leaders, the mayor, and District Attorney Steve Dettelbach to put him out to the community as anything else is sexist and a disgrace."
The remaining 10 panelists who will choose the 10-member police commission are as follows: Eugenia Cash, chairwoman of the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board of Cuyahoga County. Gabriella Celeste, director of child policy at the Schubert Center for Child Studies at Case Western Reserve University. The Rev. Jawanza Colvin, Olivet Institutional Baptist Church Colleen Cotter, executive director, Legal Aid Society of Cleveland
Anita Gray, regional director, Anti-Defamation League Phyllis Harris, executive director, LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland Alex Johnson, president, Cuyahoga Community College Ronn Richard, president and CEO, the Cleveland Foundation Victor Ruiz, executive director, Esperanza Inc. Timothy Tramble, executive director, Burten, Bell, Carr Development Inc.(www.clevelandurbannews.com) /(www.kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com).