CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - City officials said the basketball hoops at Lakewood’s Madison Park were reinstalled on Thursday.
The hoops were temporarily removed while police conducted an investigation in connection to an April 13 shooting at Madison Park.
According to the city of Lakewood, taking down the basketball hoops was a safety measure that was implemented while police collected evidence and information during the course of the investigation.
The move sparked widespread criticism from members of the community and beyond.
“Basketball is not the reason for gun violence. We’re concerned basketball is being labeled,” said Casey Davis of the Lakewood Outdoor Basketball Committee. “We’re not just talking about kids, but young adults too. Some kids this is what they do every day. This is all they have. It’s unfair. I feel like there’s a segment of people being overlooked.”
Madison Park is in Lakewood’s Birdtown neighborhood, one of its most diverse.
Shortly after the shooting, Lakewood City Council Vice President John Litten told 19 News he would shift his focus to safety reform in the city. But in doing so, he insisted, city leaders must take into account the community’s diversity.
“Any adjustment to a safety perspective may adversely effect people of color. That’s something we need to be really thinking about,” he said. “To say you’ll have more policing in your parks, perhaps you or I might say, ‘OK, that makes some sense since we had an incident,’ but to a Black person living in Lakewood, they might say, ‘You know what? Maybe I shouldn’t go to the park anymore.’ And how unfortunate is that?”
Two men were arrested and criminally charged in connection to the shooting of the 18-year-old man.
The city said police officers will continue an increased presence around Madison Park to ensure community safety.