State Representative and Ohio Legislative Black Caucus President Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) issued the following statement today in response to the U.S. Department of Justice’s civil rights investigation into the Cleveland Police Department:
“The Justice Department’s findings come at a critical time as so many citizens of our state and nation search for answers for these tragic shootings. It is no secret that recent tragedies involving Mike Brown, John Crawford III and Tamir Rice have strained relations between our local communities and law enforcement. While today’s announcement cannot bring back the lives lost, I believe it has taken us a step in the right direction for meaningful conversations surrounding race and our justice system. I hope and pray that we can continue to work toward a greater understanding in our state and nation.”
The Justice Department finding says that Cleveland Police have a pattern of using excessive force and that a court enforceable order will require monitoring of the department to ensure necessary reforms.
Rep. Reece is introducing “John Crawford’s Law” following the deadly police-led shooting of John Crawford III who was holding a BB gun he found on a shelf in a Beavercreek Walmart this summer. The legislation would require toy guns to be easily identified as such by having prominent fluorescent markings or finishes. Reece announced her legislation after Cleveland Police recently shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was also playing with a toy gun when police responded to a 911 call.
During her time as city councilwoman, Rep. Reece also played a role in brokering Cincinnati’s 2002 police-community relations collaborative agreement following the city’s 2001 riots sparked by the police shooting of 19-year-old Timothy Thomas.