Friday, May 2, 2003

ACLU picks 12 for collaborative


Members replace Black United Front that withdrew

By Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

The plaintiffs in Cincinnati's police reform pact added 12 people Thursday to the ever-changing cast of characters in what's become known as the Collaborative Agreement.

ACLU PANEL
The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio has appointed 12 people to an advisory board representing the African-American community in the Collaborative Agreement:
George Beatty, West End activist and member of the Cincinnati Empowerment Corp. board.
Charles Bronson, Kennedy Heights resident and former plaintiff in a landmark school desegregation lawsuit.
James Clingman, founder of the African-American Chamber of Commerce.
Jackie Gaines, member of Mothers of Murdered Sons and Daughters.
Mary Gladden, former principal, Taft High School.
Rev. Eugene Godhigh, pastor of Christ our Redeemer African Methodist Episcopal Church in Over-the-Rhine.
Rev. Paula Jackson, rector, Church of Our Saviour in Mount Auburn.
Prince Johnson II, Xavier University student.
Rev. W. Peterson Mingo, pastor, Christ Temple Full Gospel Baptist Church.
Minister James Muhammed, minister of Muhammed's Mosque No. 5.
Michelle Taylor-Mitchell, Avondale activist.
Wendell Young, retired sergeant, Cincinnati Police Department.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio appointed a 12-member advisory committee, which will help represent the African-American community in the ACLU's class action racial profiling suit against the city. That suit led to the Collaborative Agreement - a plan for improving police-community relations that seems to be disintegrating in recent weeks.

The 12 members replace the Cincinnati Black United Front, which withdrew from the agreement last month in order to devote its energies to the economic boycott of downtown.

Monday, citing the BUF's withdrawal, the Fraternal Order of Police Queen City Lodge No. 69 also voted to pull out of the agreement, saying it had become a "farce." But Scott T. Greenwood, an ACLU lawyer, said the 12 new advisory board members were evidence "there are plenty of committed individuals in Cincinnati who want the collaborative to succeed."

They include a geographically diverse group of black Cincinnatians - and one white - from religious, neighborhood, civic, business and activist organizations.

The group will advise the ACLU on issues of concern to all African-Americans, who the civil liberties group claims have been victims of racial profiling by Cincinnati police. The advisory panel also will explain the police reform agreements to the black community, and work to improve its relationship with police.

Greenwood said the boycott wasn't an issue in selecting the new members, some of whom are also members of the Black United Front. "We consciously did not invite another established group to replace the Front, because everyone else has already picked sides, and that's terribly distracting," he said. "This group will never take a position for or against the boycott, because it's not relevant."

Councilman David Pepper, who had been critical of the role that the Black United Front and its lawyers were playing in the Collaborative Agreement, reserved judgment on the new panel Thursday.

"I'm not commenting about these specific people, because I don't know enough about them," he said. "But I would have liked to have seen the NAACP and the Urban League and some of the larger organizations with the broadest reach involved. I've been a broken record on that from the beginning.

"It seems right now that the collaborative doesn't have a lot of leverage. We need not just an advisory group, but an implementation group with the capacity to get something accomplished."

E-mail gkorte@enquirer.com




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