CINCINNATI (WKRC) - One theme of the protests that have followed the death of George Floyd is the need for change. Several local groups have demands of their own. The Cincinnati Black United Front called a rally Thursday afternoon to read its suggestions and demands for change.
The group has been actively pushing for reforms since the death of Timothy Thomas in 2001. There are at least four separate groups in Cincinnati and hundreds throughout the country organizing protests. Each seems to have its own list of demands for the government for fair and equal treatment under the law. They range from the radical, like abolishing police departments and jails to more easily attained goals.
“There are multiple groups with multiple demands,” said Iris Roley a couple of hours before the rally.
She gave Local 12 a preview of some of the Black United Front's demands:
For the Citizens Complaint Authority, to get those two investigators, to get a permanent executive director; Offer warnings first and problem-solve before you arrest; When charging people with a crime, cite and release, not incarcerate; Improve the data collection on arrests by race and neighborhood; and the review of the use-of-force policy, who have violated it multiple times.
Local 12 asked Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac earlier this week about some of these, including that last point: the ability to discipline or fire officers for violating use-of-force policies.
“I’m certainly open to any ideas,” said Isaac. “I’m willing to explore anything that helps us do that better. As far as disciplining officers, that’s a challenge.”
A challenge, he says, due to the collective bargaining agreement with the police union.
“We very, very rarely use force, and we very, very rarely use deadly force,” said Dan Hils, the Cincinnati Fraternal Order of Police president.
He says officers already go through cultural sensitivity training, volunteer in their communities and, like anyone else, need job protections.
“That’s what our country is about: due process and process. Not just emotional whims or demands. And the demands of a lot of these groups are going forth in like a mob mentality, and we do not want mob-rule in this country,” Hils said.
Conflicting parties with the same goal: Fair treatment.
“We shouldn’t have to wait for a police officer to put a knee in a black man’s neck to want to come back to the table,” said Roley.
Hils says he wants to continue to improve the relationship between officers and the minority community and is always looking for improvement.
The mayor sent out an open letter to the community Thursday saying he's heard the Black United Front's recommendations and says these and others are worth consideration, and he invites meetings with leaders of all the protest groups.
This is the current list of recommendations to police, city and county government, the courts and the prosecutor when it comes to policy changes and accountability: