News Release

Police Brutality: Cincinnati Aftermath


With Cincinnati in crisis amid protests against police shootings, the following analysts are available for interviews:

The founder and president of Black Cops Against Police Brutality and a 15-year veteran of the East Orange, N.J., police department, Davis is a sergeant in the community services unit. He said today: “Often the victims of police brutality are minority males, usually black or Latino or poor whites. I’m a police officer, but the police cannot police the police. Until there’s a crisis, these issues are ignored, then we begin to see a system respond to their pain — and then only in incremental steps. For two years we’ve been warning that it’s a powder keg in Cincinnati. The city charter requires that the police chief comes from within the department, but that’s not always best, it could simply recycle the same culture of racism and violence. Allegedly the police chief in Cincinnati referred to an officer as a ‘nigger’ at a management seminar last year. Civilian boards need more power, like subpoena power. Militaristic attitudes by the police need to be replaced with a community policing philosophy and an African-American centered paradigm in African-American communities.”
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Senior researcher on U.S. issues at Human Rights Watch and author of the report “Shielded from Justice: Police Brutality and Accountability in the U.S.”
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Powers is coordinator of the National Coalition on Police Accountability based in Chicago.

Author of Justice: A Question of Race and co-author of the syndicated “Column of the Americas,” Rodriguez won a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department for brutality against him. He said today: “Rioting is societal breakdown. It is what happens when people are brutalized and dehumanized…when they feel they have no recourse and no voice. In most cases, law enforcement abuses never make it to trial. We desperately need a national truth commission.”
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Author of Police Accountability: The Role of Citizen Oversight and professor of criminal justice at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Walker said today: “Given the number of fatal shootings of African Americans — 15 since 1995 — there’s clearly a problem in Cincinnati. The ACLU is suing the police department. Other departments, like Minneapolis and San Jose, have established mechanisms of civilian oversight which have received support from the police departments and the mayors of those cities. You need early warning systems like citizen complaints and use of force reports to identify problem officers.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167