CLEVELAND (WJW) — Mayor Justin Bibb’s announcement of the nominees for the city’s new Community Police Commission was interrupted by a protester Friday.
Bibb was set to announce the nominees Friday afternoon on the steps of City Hall along Lakeside Avenue.
But local Black Lives Matter Cleveland organizer Kareem Henton stood in front of the mayor and blasted an air horn, holding a sign that read “Yes on 24,” as seen in the video above.
Issue 24, a ballot initiative that passed in last year’s general election, was an amendment to the city charter giving civilians enhanced oversight of police.
Henton told the I-Team that city officials aren’t “playing by the rules,” and haven’t nominated figures to the commission as demanded by the charter amendment language — “those representations are not there,” he said.
“We definitely came here to voice our discontent with not just what he had to say, but what they have essentially been trying to do,” Henton said, later adding, “What they’re doing is calling anybody an activist and advocate just to give them legitimacy. Many of them are not legitimate.”
The 10 nominees selected by Mayor Bibb include:
- James M. Chura, 4-year term: A retired Cleveland police captain
- Charles Donaldson Jr., 4-year term: A U.S. Coast Guard veteran and human resources worker at Sherwin-Williams
- Pastor Kyle Earley, 2-year term: A senior pastor at City of God Cleveland and an “active community organizer,” said Bibb
- Alana Garrett-Ferguson, 4-year term : A member of NAACP Cleveland and New Voices for Reproductive Justice and a policy associate at the Center for Community Solutions
- Cait Kennedy, 2-year term: An associate professor at Baldwin Wallace University who also co-founded the mobile app unBail, which helps defendants navigate the justice system, Bibb said
- Gregory Reaves, 2-year term: A career coach
- Jan Ridgeway, 4-year term: The volunteer director and president of Garden Valley Neighborhood House
- Piet van Lier, 4-year term: A senior researcher at Policy Matters Ohio who has studied the justice system
- Teri Wang, 2-year term: A Harvard graduate who works as a consultant and advocate for immigrants
- Sharena Zayed, 2-year term: A community organizer and advocate for victims and families, whose 15-year-old son died in March 2020
Three nominees were selected by Cleveland City Council:
- Dr. John Adams, 4-year term: A Cleveland Metropolitan School District teacher who holds a PhD in African-American history
- Shandra Benito, 2-year term: A licensed social worker whose clients have experienced homelessness
- Audrianna Rodriguez, 4-year term: A family advocate at the Centers for Families and Children who works at three Cleveland Metropolitan schools
Bibb in his Friday remarks called the commission’s formation “the most progressive police reform agenda in the country” and said “the mandate for change is clear.”
During Henton’s demonstration, one man attempted to usher him away.
“Take your time. Say your comment, sir, say your comment,” Bibb said, before continuing with his remarks.
But as Henton continued to blare the horn, officials retreated back into city hall, as protesters shouted after them: “We want real accountability.”
Other protesters who were standing off to the side and also holding Issue 24 signs were uninvited, the FOX 8 I-Team learned, including relatives of different people who have been shot by police.
FOX 8 has reached out to the mayor’s office for comment.