Ohio board considers standards for police during mass protests

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Posted at 7:35 PM, Jul 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-28 21:52:57-04

CINCINNATI — An Ohio board is meeting to recommend new standards for law enforcement agencies to follow during mass protests like the ones in Cincinnati last spring.

“I have a friend who was tear-gassed. I have friends who were arrested in the first protests, treated poorly, treated inhumanely,” said Myriam Wane.

“What we are doing in Cincinnati on the streets is well within our rights,” said Wane.

Gov. Mike DeWine said peaceful demonstrators must feel safe when asserting their First Amendment rights. He ordered the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board to set new standards for law enforcement agencies to follow during mass protests.

The board heard Tuesday from the NAACP and Department of Public Safety.

“We will hear from community members, members that have been involved in protests. We’ll hear from law enforcement experts,” said Dr. Robin Engel, Ph.D.

Engel, a nationally-recognized expert in criminal justice, is Vice President for Safety and Reform at the University of Cincinnati and a professor of Criminal Justice. She is one of 12 community and criminal justice leaders from across the state on this board.

Since 2015, this board has set standards for hundreds of agencies when it comes to use of force and police accountability.

Kharlton Moore, executive director of the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services, says about 500 law enforcement agencies across the state typically adopt the standards they suggest each year and the collaborative publishes a report on their level of involvement online.

Board members say Cincinnati police typically adopt the standards.

“When Robin and the other advisory board members create standards, it becomes the responsibility of the Office of Criminal Justice Services to ensure that agencies are adopting the standards and develop a process that allows us to see if an agency has actually put that into practice,” said Moore.

Police on the board said they need protection but agree reform is needed.

“It’s an opportunity for us to lean in and listen to our community members,” said Chief of Dublin's police department, Justin Paez.

Medina County Sheriff Tom Miller agreed.

“Perhaps the situation finally has come to a tipping point in getting work done in the state of Ohio and the country, legitimate police reform that can better serve all our citizens and all our communities,” said Miller.