Tuesday, July 8, 2003

Boycotter wants board to resign

Says Citizen Complaint has failed

By William A. Weathers
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Board members of the Citizen Complaint Authority were called on to resign Monday by a Cincinnati boycott proponent who charged the group has been ineffective in it mission to oversee police actions.

But the authority vice chairman said he has no plans to resign and that he has faith the authority will give a fair hearing to all citizen complaints involving police officers.

"I have no faith in you," Nate Livingston told the authority board at its Monday night meeting in City Council chambers. "We say this is an experiment that failed."

Livingston, one of the leaders of the Coalition for a Just Cincinnati which supports a boycott of the city, told the board he was a victim of police brutality when he was arrested June 29 while involved in a protest outside the Cincinnati Zoo. He has filed a complaint with the police department, but no disciplinary action has been taken against the officers involved, he said.

The authority, set up as part of reforms to the Cincinnati Police Department, has a team of full-time investigators who probe allegations of excessive force and other police misconduct. The director reports to a seven-member civilian board appointed by the mayor.

John Eby, vice chairman of the authority, said after the meeting that he has no plans to resign.

"We know the process will work," Eby said. "We have professional investigators."

Eby said if those involved in the incident outside the zoo file formal complaints with the authority, they will be investigated and the authority members would have recommendations regarding those complaints within 90 days.

Dan Baker, interim authority executive director, told the board earlier in the meeting that a complaint had been filed "from what happened at the Cincinnati Zoo a few days ago."

The authority's findings are in the form of recommendations that go to City Manager Valerie Lemmie, who has the final say if any police officers will be disciplined.

Livingston and Amanda Mayes, another leader of the Coalition of a Just Cincinnati, were charged by police with resisting arrest after the zoo incident. Livingston was also charged with assault on a police officer.

Livingston said he met with a representative of the FBI Monday and requested the agency conduct a civil rights investigation of the incident.


E-mail bweathers@enquirer.com

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