Monday, October 22, 2001

Ministers group supports Issue 5

Shuttlesworth critical of police and city system

By Cindy Kranz
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        During a lightly attended Sunday rally to protest racism in Cincinnati, the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth urged Cincinnatians to use the ballot to change the way the city chooses a police chief.

The Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth leads a prayer Sunday outside the Hamilton County Courthouse.
(Craig Ruttle photo)
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        On Nov. 6, voters will decide whether to remove 98 top city employees — among them police and fire chiefs — from the civil service system.

        Issue 5 would allow the city manager to hire outside the department for the top position and would make firing easier.

        “Use the ballot and free your city from ignorance. Free your city from racism ... Vote for people who will change this city,” the Rev. Mr. Shuttlesworth said at the Black Ministers Conference of Cincinnati rally at the Hamilton County Courthouse.

        The 22 attendees sang and prayed. The ministers group organized the rally because it thought the church should be active in seeking justice and fair play.

        “We meet today to strongly protest the continued unnecessary killing of young black men by policemen in this city over the years,” the Rev. Mr. Shuttlesworth said.

        In the 42 years he's lived in the city, he and other preachers have led numerous demonstrations seeking change and better conditions for blacks and poor people. Investigations of police brutality have come and gone, the pastor said, but conditions have not improved appreciably.

        The Rev. Aaron Greenlea, president of the Baptist Ministers Conference, said after the rally that it's understandable attention is focused on Sept. 11 and the heroic efforts of police officers and firefighters. “But we don't ever want to forget there is work to be done at home,” he said.

        • A group called The Coalition for a Just Cincinnati is sponsoring a “Stop Police Brutality” rally at noon today on Fountain Square.


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