Cincinnati Police Failed to Reform Discriminatory Practices, ACLU Charges

November 19, 2004 12:00 am

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Civil Liberties Group Asks Court to Order City to Live Up to Agreements


CINCINNATI – The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio today asked a federal court to order city officials here to comply with agreements made in the ACLU’s landmark 2001 police reform case, which charged the city with a pattern of racial profiling by police.

“We filed this motion to make the city honor its promises,” said ACLU of Ohio General Counsel Scott Greenwood, who is the lead attorney in the case. “The city cannot just falsely declare success and walk away from these agreements.”

The ACLU’s motion asks federal Magistrate Judge Michael Merz to declare that the city of Cincinnati has breached the agreements by failing to implement problem-solving in the department, improperly using arbitrary arrest sweeps, and seeking premature termination of the agreements. The ACLU also charged that the city failed to implement reforms on police accountability and has prevented access to police training activities, ride-alongs, and documents.

Today’s motion comes in response to a class action lawsuit brought against Cincinnati in 2001. The lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of a local civil rights organization and African American members of the community, challenged a three-decade pattern of discriminatory police practices. The parties entered into a court-supervised agreement in April 2002, which incorporated a related agreement between the city and the U.S. Department of Justice mandating significant reforms. The agreement also called for the creation of the Citizen Complaint Authority to review police misconduct matters.

“The African American community needs proof that the Citizen Complaint Authority will be heeded and that all of the terms will be followed,” said attorney Alphonse Gerhardstein, who filed the original lawsuit with the ACLU’s Greenwood. “The city is in breach and must now be ordered to keep its promises.”

For more information on the lawsuit, including copies of the agreements, go to /node/10962?SubsiteID=39.

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