Saturday, June 01, 2002

Group: rewrite plan

Coalition says settlement vague

By Marie McCain,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The landmark settlement that put an end to a racial profiling lawsuit against the city lacks clear guidelines on police conduct, the Coalition for a Just Cincinnati contends.

        In a filing Friday in federal court by coalition member Monica R. Williams, the group states that “the sections of the (U.S. Department of Justice) agreeent on use-of-force, chemical weapons, etc. ... are filled with a multitude of undefined standards. The agreement provides no guidance as to how the standards are to be construed, leaving too much discretion to the officers.”

        The coalition plans to object to the collaborative agreement during a 10 a.m. hearing Thursday before U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott. The coalition is one of the groups urging an economic boycott of the city over race relations issues.

        The group also criticizes a plan contained in the collaborative agreement that it says would have the city solicitor's office act as legal counsel to the Citizen Complaint Authority, an agency that would investigate allegations of police misconduct.

        Though the organization would have subpoena power, that authority would be subject to the organization's legal counsel, the coalition says.

        “Of course, the CCA may request outside counsel from the city solicitor, but the city solicitor is under no obligation to agree to it,” the filing states. “To subpoena witnesses and obtain the testimony of officers who refuse to comply with a request to appear the CCA must obtain City Council approval. ... City Council has often served to obstruct investigations of police misconduct rather than aid them.”

        The coalition's statement was the only objection filed out of the 13 documents submitted to Judge Dlott.

        The others support the agreement and are from religious organizations, including the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, the Baptist Ministers Conference of Cincinnati and Vicinity, and the Greater Cincinnati Board of Rabbis.


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