Cleveland City Council reviews citizens' concerns over police use of force

Cleveland City Council reviews citizens' concerns over police use of force

There were a lot of platitudes and pledges, but if city leaders learned anything at a series of listening tours in recent months, citizens want action.

On Wednesday, a report was released summarizing what was said throughout the listening tours. Concern for citizens are many. At the top of the list was community policing, which officers have shifted away from to answer more calls for service.

Police Chief Calvin Williams explained, "that shift has left a lot of our line officers out of the equation."

In order, the main concerns after community policing are fear of the police, a lack of police training and equipment, a lack of trust in police leadership to reform, and an abuse of police power.

Councilman Kevin Conwell and Safety Director Michael McGrath sparred over how police react to black-on-black crimes. Conwell says citizens don't trust the police.

"If we start solving these cases, then black folks will see and they will start trusting the police more, because then you'll see that black lives matter," Conwell told McGrath.

McGrath countered, "Not only does the police department have to treat the community with respect, but the respect also needs to come back to the police department. We need their help, like I said, and there's that word, 'trust,' and it goes to both sides of the coin."

McGrath told City Council he welcomes the Justice Department's findings.

"It's gonna make us better and we're gonna get better, but as we get better, we should work harder," said McGrath.

It will take a lot of work and trust to get there.

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