Well, they did it: Cleveland voters hand over control of police department to Black Lives Matter radicals

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The following contains editorial content which is the opinion of the author, a retired Chief of Police and current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.

CLEVELAND, OH- Well, they did it. Voters in Cleveland have actually turned over virtual control of their police department to Black Lives Matter radicals. 

 

The ballot measure, which effectively removes control away from law enforcement professionals and turns it over to Marxist radicals passed by a vote of 59% to 41%, according to Brassballs.blog. 

Ahead of the vote on Tuesday, Cleveland police warned that the measure was being headed up by anti-police activists, including a man named Kareem Hinton. The president of the Cleveland Police Union, Jeff Follmer held up a picture of Hinton wearing a t-shirt that read, “No tears for dead cops.” 

“This is one of the petitioners that is for this campaign,” said Follmer, according to the Daily Beast. 

“This group does not like the police, Follmer said. 

Follmer warned that if the ballot passed, the radicals would have more power than the mayor and chief of police to control discipline, in what he called a “one sided” process. He warned the measure will force a mass exodus of police officers, with the department already having 150 vacancies and another 300 eligible for retirement. 

“I’m a factual person, I don’t throw bullshit out there,” he told the outlet. “We get down 400 people, we’re fucked,” he said. 

For Hinton, he downplayed Follmer’s concerns, calling them a “scare tactic.” 

Capt. Johnny Hamm of the Cleveland Police Dept. said that good police officers in the department want accountability and reform. However he said the agency already has a functioning means of hearing concerns of citizens, in particular so-called “marginalized residents” and get their input. 

“They’ve been doing a really good job of that,” Hamm told the Daily Beast of the CPC (Cleveland Police Commission) and drew attention to recent bias-related policies they helped the department rewrite.

However he said Issue 24 would give the commission “control” over the police department. 

“It’s just too far,” Hamm said. 

“Officers want accountability more than anybody, but they also want fair and consistent treatment.” 

Under the proposal, it will reorganize the Office of Professional Standards and make it subordinate to the Civilian Police Review Board (CPRB), which is an unprecedented surrender of control by a police agency.

The measure will also force the city to fund the CBRB equivalent to 1% of the police budget, place all disciplinary measures under the auspices of the CPRB such that whatever discipline they recommend must be imposed by the executive head of the police force and even if that person “imposes lesser discipline based on clear and convincing evidence” that the CPRB erred in its discipline, and “the Civilian Police Review Board doesn’t overrule such lesser discipline.”

In addition, the measure will also “prescribe termination as presumed discipline for certain conduct absent mitigating factors.” [emphasis added].

Oh, and the review board will also be compensated. If this isn’t bad enough, they would also serve “as the final authority over Cleveland Division of Police policies and procedures and the Division’s recruitment and examinations of police recruits and the Division’s training of police officers…” [emphasis added]

So basically, you’re going to have a bunch of amateurs, with zero police experience, developing policies and procedures, overseeing recruitment of police officers, and in charge of training of police officers.

Moreover, you’re going to have a group of unhinged, far-left, anti-police radicals running the show. What could possibly go wrong?

There is also a proposal for a community police commission, which would establish oversight over the police department. Under this proposal, a police commission consisting of thirteen individuals who are “broadly representative of the racial, social, economic, and cultural interests of the community.”

It directs at least one Commission member must be, represent, or be knowledgeable of, as applicable,

  1. the issues of those who are limited-English speakers, homeless, or who have mental-illness and substance-abuse disorders;
  2. those who have been directly impacted by police violence, or be a family member of a person who has been killed by police;
  • those who have been incarcerated or exonerated where police were involved in the wrongful conviction or incarceration;
  1. gun-violence survivors or be a family member of a person killed by gun violence;
  2. an attorney with experience representing victims of police misconduct or criminally prosecuting police misconduct;

According to brassballs.blog, this group, according to Black Lives Matter’s Cleveland chapter president Tonya Goldsby as well as Cleveland’s police chief say that based on all of the above:

  • Any police officer can be dismissed based on a single allegation, or false complaint
  • Without a court hearing
  • Without due process
  • Without protecting the rights of the accused.

Goldsby has been working for two years to get the measure, called Issue 24 on the ballot. According to Citizens for a Safer Cleveland (CSC), they teamed up with a group called More Than a Vote to push the measure.

CSC has teamed up with a number of anti-police organizations, including the Ohio Organizing Collaborative, Black Lives Matter Cleveland, NAACP Cleveland, Showing Up for Racial Justice-NEO, and the ACLU of Ohio.

By way of information, Goldsby happens to be the cousin of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old black boy who was carrying a replica toy gun and was shot and killed by a Cleveland police officers.

Officers were responding to a dispatch of a male carrying a gun. So clearly, Goldsby has an axe to grind. 

On Nov. 2, aside from Issue 24, Cleveland will also elect a new mayor. One, Kevin Kelley, president of Cleveland’s City Council, opposes Issue 24, while another candidate, Jason Bibb supports the measure.

He also supports something called “Smart Cities” programs, a United Nations program. This is basically a far-left program intent on defunding local policing.

Make no mistake about it…this is all about a leftist scheme to remove authority from local police departments. All one needs to do is look at the current Biden administration scheme to have cities fire police officers who refuse to get the COVID vaccine.

When asked about it at a CNN town hall, Biden answered “yes” when Anderson Cooper asked if police officers who refused the jab should be fired.

The Democrat scheme to defund the police over the past 18 months is only part of the attempt by Democrats to wrest control of local police departments.

We saw several months back where the US Capitol Police had expanded out of Washington, DC and moving into other cities.

Likewise, we saw Attorney General Merrick Garland two weeks ago seek to have the FBI investigate what are typically local issues—alleged “violence” by parents at school board meetings.

Connect the dots…defund police, make police the bad guys and hold up criminals, have far-left radical Marxists put in charge of hiring, training, and discipline in police departments…it’s only the beginning.

Cleveland, which was subject to federal oversight through a consent decree is but one of several cities put in such a status. More recently, Minneapolis was subjected to such a decree.

Richard Rivera is a former New Jersey police officer and served on a police oversight panel in Miami, FL. from 2018 to 2020. He has also served as an expert witness in misconduct cases. He told The Daily Beast that it is highly unusual for a civilian-led group to have final say on police discipline matters. 

Rivera said while it is possible the efforts brought forth by Issue 24 could be successful, ne noted it is vital to have the police department involved in the process of training and hiring. He suggested members of the commission be required to go on ride-alongs and observe training  in order for them to better understand what the life of a police officer is like. 

“This can’t be handled in an ad hoc fashion. For it to really work, it would have to be a collaboration,” Rivera said. 

Some may say “this is only Cleveland.” Cleveland used to be the 5th largest city in the United States, with a population of 1.3 million. Now? 300,000 and the city is no longer ranked.

Two years ago, nobody would have thought it possible that Black Lives Matter radicals would be allowed to virtually take over a large municipal police department. If they can do it in Cleveland, could they do it elsewhere, such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Chicago?

Sadly, we all know the answer to that question.

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For more on civilian review boards, we invite you to read our prior report on issues with the New York City police review board. 

DIG DEEPER

NEW YORK, NY- It is a fairly long-standing practice that public union officials speaking in that capacity have wide latitude in statements they make publicly.

While rank-and-file union members must be careful in their statements, the same does not generally hold true for officials acting in their union capacity. Apparently, the NYPD and the city of New York don’t feel the First Amendment applies to them.

According to the New York Post, Sgt. Ed Mullins, president of the Sergeant’s Benevolent Association of the NYPD is being targeted for punishment in response to some posts he made in his union capacity on Twitter, and Mullins is fighting back.

Mullins filed a federal civil lawsuit last week in Manhattan federal court, claiming the Civilian Complaint Review Board and the NYPD are violating his Constitutional rights under the First Amendment by trying to punish him for those statements on social media.

Mullins claims that he has been targeted for harassment, being interrogated repeatedly by officials from the Internal Affairs Bureau (IAB) for his Twitter posts on the union’s account, some of which have been rather “colorful”.

“Mullins objected to the interrogations on the grounds that his speech was protected by the First Amendment and that he was speaking in his capacity as SBA President on a union platform at the time he made his public statements,” the suit says.

Mullins also claims that the NYPD subpoenaed the phone records of both Mullins, as well as his son, the suit alleges.

The New York Daily News said that in his suit, Mullins also asked the judge to prohibit both the police department and the Civilian Complaint Review Board from conducting disciplinary inquiries into him.

Mullins contends the two agencies are retaliating against him for his outspoken criticisms on social media.

The Civilian Complaint Review Board had recommended disciplinary charges be filed against Mullins after he made a number of what were referred to as “incendiary” tweets from the SBA’s account, which he also claims violates his First Amendment rights.

The tweets, included by Mullins in his suit, included one where he had referred to US Rep. Richie Torres (D-NY), who represents the Bronx, a “first class whore” for his allegations that NYPD officers were slowing down making arrests, leading to a subsequent increase in crime. That tweet was since deleted. 

Mullins had also referred to former city Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot as a “b*tch” with “blood on her hands” after she had refused to expedite the deliver of face masks to NYPD officers during the height of the pandemic.

Mullins became incensed after Barbot told then NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan, “I don’t give two rats’ asses about your cops.”  

Barbot’s callousness also set off Patrick Lynch, president of the Police Benevolent Association, who called for her firing over her “despicable and unforgivable comments.”

“Dr. Barbot should be forced to look in the eye of every police family who lost a hero to this virus. Look them in the eye and tell them they aren’t worth a rat’s ass,” Lynch said.

The third incident involved Mullins’ outing the 25-year-old daughter of Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was arrested during the Floyd protests in the city. Mullins shared an image of her arrest report, which is something called a Schedule C command discipline carrying a “penalty range of up to 20 days,” according to a disciplinary matrix.

Mullins is asking a judge to find that the actions taken by both the department and the Review Board violate his First Amendment rights which allow him to speak on matters of public concern as a union leader.

The Civilian Complaint Review Board had recommended in February that charges be filed against Mullins for the three incidents.

The Post said they reached out to the city’s Law Department for a response to the lawsuit, however they did not respond for comment.

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Mullins has gained a reputation as a no-nonsense union leader who is unafraid to speak his mind. Last year, he blasted de Blasio for threatening to turn the NYPD loose on the Jewish community to enforce draconian COVID rules.  For more on that, we invite you to:

DIG DEEPER

This editorial was written by a former Chief of Police, who is a staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.

NEW YORK, N.Y.- It is pretty safe to say that there is no love lost between members of the New York City Police Department and the mayor of the city, Bill de Blasio.

From de Blasio’s constantly throwing down for criminals, advocating for the release of prisoners from Rikers Island to his initial support of bail reform laws that taxes the resources of the department, this is not a love-hate relationship…it is strictly hate-hate.

After de Blasio sent out a tweet threatening to sic the police on the Jewish community, the president of one of the police department’s unions referred to de Blasio as “an idiot.”

“The truth of the matter is the guy’s an idiot. He has no idea what he’s doing,” said Ed Mullins, president of the Sergeant’s Benevolent Association (SBA), which represents approximately 13,000 active and retired sergeants.

“He’s embarrassed and he thinks he’s taken a hardcore approach.”

On Tuesday, de Blasio sent out a tweet in which he threatened to arrest members of the Jewish and other communities who gather in large groups during the current coronavirus epidemic.

In his Tuesday night tweet, de Blasio was criticizing Orthodox Jews who were attending a funeral at a synagogue in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.

Pictures of the gathering showed that an overwhelming number of attendees were wearing face coverings or masks, with only a handful not doing so. That wasn’t good enough for de Blasio apparently.

In his tweet, de Blasio noted that while he understood the instinct to come together for the purposes of mourning the loss of a loved one, he said that “large gatherings will only lead to more deaths + more families in mourning,” then adding that he “instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups. This is about stopping this disease and saving lives. Period”

The portion of the tweet that garnered the most attention was the fact that it was specifically addressed to “the Jewish community,” which was called out by name.

The SBA sent out a tweet criticizing de Blasio’s threat:

“Mayor de Blasio, YOU cannot instruct they NYPD to violate people’s rights! This event was a funeral this community will NOT leave bodies in their homes for you.”

“The grand rabbi from Williamsburg passed away. The community followed all guidance & wore masks,” a second tweet said. “The Shomrim was there giving out masks if they saw somebody on the street without a mask. They did an excellent job. The only issue is you’re incompetent and targeted people of faith.”

Mullins, who has been a member of the NYPD for over 38 years, noted that the Jewish community regularly holds large gatherings and “what occurred last night is not new. This happens all the time. What occurred last night was different because the community was giving out masks. They were trying to keep things organized.”

Mullins said he was shocked and angered by de Blasio’s response, especially his hardline stand, especially given the fact that the Jews in attendance were mourning the loss of a religious leader.

“Whatever treated him to go out and take a stance, he did it at a funeral for people of faith and I question what he’s doing by doing that, “Mullins said.

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Mullins also questioned the apparent contrast in how de Blasio treated the Jewish gathering in comparison to when the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels conducted a fly-over of the city to honor and show solidarity with essential workers.

He noted that there hadn’t been any type of enforcement order issued in dealing with crowds gathered for that event.

“So why did you target people of faith at a funeral? Ironically, there’s a video of a woman. She had her husband’s body, I believe it was, in an apartment for several days. So, what do you expect people to do? The city’s not responding.

“We have people who are sick, go to hospitals, they have no family members, they’re dying alone, some of them are doctors and nurses, and they’re being buried with really no funerals,” Mullins said.

Mullins continued:

“So you have a community that’s doing what they always do. They’re in their own community. They didn’t have a problem with it. I wasn’t at the funeral. I wasn’t infected myself with anything, but I just looked at photos and they’re wearing masks.

“So, this is what your biggest complaint is that you felt it necessary to get out of bed and go yell at people from a funeral? You took away Easter Sunday church from us. I’m Catholic, I didn’t get to go to mass on Easter Sunday. How much ore of this can you expect people to take?”

Mullins was not done there either. He slammed de Blasio for his earlier response to the coronavirus where he encouraged people to “visit Chinatown, and go for walks, go out to dinner.”

In a news conference on Wednesday, de Blasio attempted to justify his comments, saying that he was “trying to protect police and those gathering. I spoke last night out of passion. I could not believe my eyes, it was deeply distressing.” However Mullins was not convinced.

“We’ve had cops killed under him, cops injured under him, cops abused under him,” Mullins said. “So don’t tell me you’re trying to keep police safe and it puts us in harm’s way.”

As Law Enforcement Today reported back in January, New York City, as well as its suburbs has been the scene of a substantial increase in anti-Semitic crimes, including a machete attack in Monsey, located in Rockland County north of the city. One of the victims of the attack, Josef Neumann, 72, died of his injuries last month.

The attack was part of a spike in such attacks, with anti-Semitic hate crimes increasing by 26 percent in 2019, which in turn led to an increase of police presence in Brooklyn neighborhoods with reported incidents.

“Let’s eliminate the virus, let’s just eliminate that. Look at the hate crimes that have occurred in the last two years in the Jewish community. I mean it’s been nonstop.

“And the truth is, it’s always been an issue, but it’s been nonstop the last two years. And you’re the Mayor of this city, you’re keeping out all these things, this isn’t gonna happen on your watch.

Well, it’s happening. So what do you expect people to do? They’re not following your direction,” Mullins said.

“It’s just amazing that he even went out and took a position on this. I mean just him taking a position is significant, but at a funeral for people of faith?

“And it’s no secret, the Jewish community is a faithful community, so to sit there and be like ‘this is it.’ You’re making provisions for everything else, maybe you should make provisions of look, if this is gonna happen, this is how we should do it. And at least accommodate people to that degree.”

You’ve got to give de Blasio credit…he has an impeccable sense of timing. This incident occurred only days after de Blasio was seen walking through Prospect Park in Brooklyn with his wife Chirlane McCray, in apparent disregard of his admonitions for New Yorkers to remain at home. Not only that, but the park is 11 miles away from his home in Manhattan.

Finally, contrast de Blasio’s threat to the Jewish community with a tweet he sent exactly one week ago. On April 23, in a tweet to the Muslim community, de Blasio said:

“To the Muslim New Yorkers beginning their celebrations tonight who heed halal meals, we have them across 400+ grab and go meal sites, and are bringing hundreds of thousands more to the 32 (emphasis added) sites most frequented by our Muslim communities. Go to nyc.gov/getfood for more.”

So let’s see, quick math here they are bringing “hundreds of thousands of meals” of halal meals to “32 sites.” Hmmm, Mr. Mayor…seems like that would be a little bit of excessive social gathering at those 32 locations, no?

God forbid de Blasio single out the Muslim community. The Jewish community? Not so much apparently.


Editor note: In 2020, we saw a nationwide push to “defund the police”.  While we all stood here shaking our heads wondering if these people were serious… they cut billions of dollars in funding for police officers.  And as a result, crime has skyrocketed – all while the same politicians who said “you don’t need guns, the government will protect you” continued their attacks on both our police officers and our Second Amendment rights.

And that’s exactly why we’re launching this national crowdfunding campaign as part of our efforts to help “re-fund the police”.

For those looking for a quick link to get in the fight and support the cause, click here.


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