In September of 2017, Cleveland.com released shocking surveillance footage of officers at Cuyahoga County’s Juvenile Detention Center standing guard as teenagers fought each other. Grainy footage shows a gray industrial common area, adorned in concrete and linoleum, as a burly detention officer enters with two young men.
Imagine receiving a notice from your landlord that you are being evicted because city officials have determined that your conduct makes the property a “nuisance.” Perhaps your teenage child has stayed out past curfew one too many times causing your neighbors to complain.
The 5th annual #GivingTuesday has come and gone but our gratitude for all of you will last much longer than the 24-hour, social media movement. It’s been a wild year of defending civil liberties whether it be fighting Ohio’s illegal voter purge, lobbying against abortion bans introduced in the Ohio General Assembly, suing police departments that use unconstitutional force, or advocating to change Ohio’s discriminatory birth certificate policy, we’ve been hard at work, and there’s no one we’d rather start 2018 with than you.
Alva E. Campbell Jr. is scheduled to be executed at 10 a.m. on November 15th at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, OH. It will be the third execution this year in Ohio, following a moratorium on the death penalty after a severely botched execution took place in 2014.
Historically, a judge set bail based on a single consideration: whether a person would reappear in court to answer for the alleged crime. It wasn’t until later in the 20th century that nationwide reforms allowed judges to consider public safety as a reason to deny bail.
Cities across the state are using an old philosophy to address the current opioid crisis: charge drug addicts with a crime. Specifically in Ohio, cities are charging overdose victims with inducing panic, which includes a first degree misdemeanor, up to 180 days in jail and a $1000 fine.
Our two international interns from Humanity In Action, Julie Vainqueur and Lukasz Niparko, articulate their responses to Ava DuVernay’s powerful documentary, 13th.
Julie Vainqueur, writing from a French, Afrocaribbean perspective.
I want to communicate about issues that matter, to listen to the unheard, amplify their voices, and to educate others about the social injustices of the world.
Every day, people with felony and misdemeanor convictions are released from jails and prisons across the state, ready to start over and become upstanding, contributing members of society. For many of these individuals, reality kicks in and they come to realize that their punishment isn’t truly over.
By Emma Keeshin
With so many candidates for Cleveland mayor and City Council this year, it can be hard to keep track of all of them. But something you must keep track of is their commitment to police reform in Cleveland.
That’s because Cleveland is in year two of a multi-year police reform process, known as the consent decree, which is overseen by a federal judge after the U.S.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke in Columbus, Ohio on Wednesday to discuss the opioid epidemic both on the state and national level. It is no exaggeration to call it an epidemic. In 2016 alone, over 4100 Ohioans died from opioid overdoses, marking a 36% increase from 2015’s record-breaking number.
Once again, Ohio is at the heart of it all. There is perhaps nowhere in the nation grappling with the opioid crisis as much as the Buckeye State. In fact, leaders recently filed a lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies, alleging they were misleading the public about the addictiveness of painkillers.
The recent introduction of Painesville Police Department Policy 413 has left many wondering what Chief Powalie hopes to gain by involving his department with enforcement of federal immigration laws.
At a public meeting on March 15 at Perry Library, Chief Powalie said his department would not initiate contact with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when encountering undocumented immigrants.
Over the past several months, sanctuary cities have been under increased scrutiny by federal officials. We can’t allow this.
Why Sanctuary Cities?
Sanctuary cities have adopted social, economic and political policies to protect the constitutional rights of all their residents, particularly those who are undocumented.
As the two-year anniversary of Cleveland’s second consent decree approaches, many residents are worried that the Cleveland Division of Police will adopt Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ “law and order” attitude. Mr. Sessions champions loosening restrictions on police. That “law and order” attitude will likely only be used against civilians and not the law enforcement officers who have been tasked to protect them.
The only good thing about Washington Court House arresting naloxone-revived opioid users is that it shows everything wrong with criminal justice today. Since February, this town nestled between Columbus and Cincinnati has been charging overdose victims with “Inducing Panic” after emergency responders revive them.
The right to dissent is a founding principle of our country. Often, in the United States and abroad, powerful forces attempt to suppress speech in times of political tension or when people are making demands for change. Yet, this is exactly when speech and assembly are most important.
Advances in media and technology have brought desperately needed visibility to the pressing issue of police violence. Visibility alone, however, cannot create long-term accountability and transparency in law enforcement. That is why the successful implementation of the Deaths In Custody Reporting Act (DICRA) is crucial.
By Allison Kao
Photo by Raymond Wambsgans through Flickr Creative Commons.
Allison Kao is a high school student serving as a summer intern at the ACLU of Ohio.
After two years of anticipation, preparation, and scrutiny in the national spotlight, Cleveland can finally reflect on the 2016 Republican National Convention.
By Ellen Kubit
For years, the story has been the same. Its plot involves unnecessary stops, disproportionate responses, and inexcusable use-of-force. People of color in Cleveland, and cities like it across the country, have become intimately familiar with this narrative. Police enforce the law in different ways depending on who they are policing.
By Tim Cable
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is an opportunity to reflect not just on what King accomplished but also on how his tactics can inform our work for social change.
When King wrote his Letter from Birmingham Jail, racial segregation was an institution.
By Shakyra Diaz
Many would like to quickly move forward now that a grand jury has decided not to indict the Cleveland police officers involved in the tragic death of Tamir Rice, the 12 year old child who was shot in less than one second while playing in a park.
By Ellen Kubit
November 23, 2015 marked the one-year anniversary of the death of Tamir Rice, a 12-year old boy shot and killed by Cleveland police while playing in a park near his home. His family and local activists organized several events over the weekend to celebrate his life and to draw attention to the grand jury investigation overseen by Prosecutor McGinty.
With early voting now underway in Ohio, the potential that marijuana may be legalized remains the hottest political topic in our state. With Colorado reporting sales of $100 million in just the last month, it’s ensured that legalization will remain on peoples’ minds here and everywhere else.
By Shakyra Diaz
Michael is 23, African-American and incarcerated because he was caught with a bag of marijuana. Now he’s a “repeat offender” because of a similar arrest years ago. He’s lost his job, freedoms, college plans, perhaps his shot at any decent future.
Rather than look to Tampa, Cleveland should throw away the repressive policing playbook for the RNC in 2016
By Steve David
Photograph courtesy of Lig Ynnek, Creative Commons
Earlier this month, a Cleveland.com article asked if Tampa’s approach to policing the RNC 2012 protests would “provide a blueprint for Cleveland as it prepares to host the next Republican National Convention a year from now?”
However, that may be the wrong question to ask.
By Shakyra Diaz
There has been recent public outcry about the disproportionate interactions with law enforcement in communities of color. To better understand what’s happening, Ohio could make use of a centralized database that would document instances of excessive force, lethal and non-lethal.
Earlier this year, two criminal justice students at Sinclair Community College in voiced support for a database that specifically would document instances of police shootings.
By Shakyra Diaz
Photo by Supreme Court of Ohio
For a person paying thousands upon thousands of dollars a year to a university, which has the responsibility to mold and educate them, transparency might seem like a simple request. However, for many private institutions across the country and in Ohio, right-to-know standards have not been the norm.
On the day Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo was found “not guilty” on all counts against him in the tragic and unnecessary execution-style deaths of Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell, I was in complete shock.
My Reaction to the Deaths
I remember the morning after the two Cleveland residents were murdered in November 2012.
By Ellen Kubit
Photograph courtesy of Rachel Woods
Change in the Cleveland Division of Police is long overdue.
After the U.S. Department of Justice publicized its findings from its most recent investigation of the CDP, the ACLU provided recommendations for how Cleveland police can fix their unconstitutional policies and practices.
By Ellen Kubit
If you pay any attention to the news lately, you would think that the country is suddenly in the midst of a police misconduct crisis. Every month or so, we learn about how a police officer killed someone of color: Michael Brown, John Crawford, Eric Garner, Tanisha Anderson, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Tony Robinson, and unfortunately, far too many more.