Shaker Heights citizens launch campaign to put police reform on the ballot

Published: Mar. 11, 2023 at 8:38 PM EST
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SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio (WOIO) - A coalition of Shaker Heights residents announced a new ballot initiative on Saturday to reduce police brutality, increase public safety, and to demand more transparency in police reporting.

Citing city data, Shaker Citizens for Fair Ticketing say the city issued 71% of traffic tickets to Black drivers last year. The group also pointed to the use of force, which they say involves Black or Hispanic people almost 100% of the time.

“We stand in unity as neighbors because of our collective belief in equality for Shaker Heights,” said campaign manager Ethan Khorana. ”They’re common sense public safety reforms. Oversight board, transparency, and a new approach to patrolling. You would only not do this if [you] had something to hide.”

In a news release, the group outlined the following proposals:

  • Expanding the city’s Crisis Intervention Team by creating a newly formed Non-Violent Community Administrators Department that will distribute tickets, patrol neighborhoods, and respond to non-violent crimes and mental health services needs.
  • Create a Civilian Oversight Board to fast-track community complaints, modernize Shaker Heights, and review officers and newly established community administrators.
  • Create and curate a modernized, transparent, public police records database that tracks ticketing and uses of force to recognize bias and other challenges to equitable practices, and ensures easier complaint submission.

“[It’s] a ballot initiative that will ensure an equitable city and move Shaker Heights forward,” Khorana said.

Police chief Wayne Hudson, along with Mayor David Weiss declined to comment on the specifics of the campaign initiative, but Hudson pulled no punches when it comes to safety.

“If someone has an idea that they think will make the community safer, I’m willing to sit down and listen to it. But I will never compromise the safety of the residents in this city,” he told 19 News.