CINCINNATI — Just hours after Cincinnati police released body camera footage of Monday's deadly police shooting of 20-year-old Ali Coulter, city leaders and activists gathered to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Cincinnati Collaborative Agreement.
"What we're celebrating is out of darkness can come light," said Iris Roley with the Cincinnati Black United Front. "And out of that light, comes the continuous work to improve."
The agreement, upheld nationwide as an exemplary model for combating discriminatory, excessive law enforcement, formed as a result of the frustration around the killing of more than a dozen black men in the late 90s by Cincinnati police officers. Roley is one of the architects behind the agreement.
According to activists, the transparency of Thursday's press conference is a direct result of the historic agreement.
"It is our expectation and has been for 20 years that we get a press conference, that we get to see all the evidence," Roley said. "So that citizens can begin to build some type of trust with the people that they pay to serve them."
After the body camera footage was shown, Kentucky Commonwealth's Attorney Rob Sanders said on Twitter he believes the release of the footage will harm the Kentucky State Police investigation. In the tweet, he said CPD was instructed not to release the footage and called the decision to do so a "flagrant & arrogant disregard for KY law."
Roley, though, said Cincinnati followed the Collaborative Agreement "as closely as it could have" in releasing the footage.
Interim Police Chief Teresa Theetge said the city is still committed to the agreement and "will continue the work that needs to be done."
Roley noted the agreement must continue to evolve to address more issues, but said the transparency it fostered over the last two decades shouldn't go unnoticed.
"Ensuring their citizens that what the police said, is actually what happened," Roley said. "The family needed to see that footage as well. It's not just about the police process, it's about the process of families and communities and those who pay for policing."
There will be upcoming listening sessions for the community to give input on refreshing the agreement.
"We are all better for the collaborative," said Roley.
'We wanted to come out as a better city': Cincinnati's Collaborative Agreement marks 20th anniversary
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