(CLEVELAND, OH, 3/22/2016) â€“ The Cleveland chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations joined more than 20 civil and human rights groups at a joint press conference yesterday in front of Cleveland City Hall to address what they assert are significant potential problems regarding plans for the procurement of equipment and deployment of personnel from the Cleveland Division of Police at the upcoming Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveland July 18-21.
The groups issued an open letter to the Mayor and City Council calling on Cleveland City Council to pass a de-militarization resolution, committing the Cleveland Division of Police (CDP) to de-commission any purchased military-type equipment after the RNC.
The letter expressed concern that the City of Cleveland had not established a meaningful and transparent process whereby citizens can be informed and can provide public comment in a timely way about the equipment that the City will be purchasing under the $50 million federal grant for convention security.
â€œThe decisions about what equipment to buy and how it should be deployed ought to include input from all stakeholders, including CDP rank and file and the civil and human rights organizations, not just a narrow few conducting business behind closed doors,â€ said Julia Shearson, Executive director of CAIR-Cleveland. â€œSuch decisions should be made in a democratic and transparent way to ensure accountability, constitutional and legitimate policing, and the best use of the money for the end goal of providing effective and rational security and critical incident preparedness.â€
Signatories to the letter included: ACLU of Ohio; Black on Black Crime, Inc.; Carl Stokes Brigade; Cleveland Branch NAACP; Cleveland Action; Cleveland 8; Cleveland Jobs with Justice; Cleveland Nonviolence Network; Collaborative for a Safe Fair and Just Cleveland; Council on American-Islamic Relations Cleveland & Northern Ohio Chapter; Greater Cleveland Civil and Human Rights Coalition; Interreligious Task Force on Central America and Colombia (IRTF); Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee (AFSC); Ohio Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild; Olivet Institutional Baptist Church; Organize Ohio; Stop Targeting Ohioâ€™s Poor; Veterans for Peace Chapter 39 – NE Ohio; Women Speak Out for Peace and Justice and others
CAIR is America's largest Islamic civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.