A Continued Discussion On Police Brutality In Lakewood

I am glad that after years of being around national, state, and local police violence that posting a story about how it appears in Lakewood has created a discussion in our city. I am glad that Bob Stoltys and John Mazzei have continued the discussion in the past print and online posts. They each mention points that I would like to respond to because if Lakewood wants to strive to be unique among Cleveland's inner ring suburbs and be exceptional to them, then continuing this discussion where white suburbanites in this area dare not touch might add to the city's sense of pride in their city. Now is the time to discuss matters of racism and race in America and that makes Lakewood a part of the discussion. 

Regarding Bob's points, I do think that all resources might be helpful if Lakewood City Council members do not deliver in respecting and maintaining the Robinson family's safety. I do not speak for the Robinson family, but I do support them because their safety is my safety and it is so easy for police brutality cases to fall by the wayside in our criminal justice system that often protects the aggressors, not reassure the victims. Bob pointed out the harassment case regarding a detective's inadequate handling of a transgender woman not too long ago, and since transgender people are likely to experience harassment and murder in the hands of law enforcement, not to mention the systemic neglect of their murders in general, it does bring cause to lift up this intersectional concern.

The only point I disagree with is that while bringing this matter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation might prove helpful, it is my knowledge that this matter could be brought to the Ohio Supreme Court at the most and that if the city does truly believe that Lakewood police officers are being trained in de-escalation techniques and "proper use of force," then let's see where this due process of law goes. So far, Dan O'Malley seems to be the only civil servant to care about this case as it happened in his ward. I think that O'Malley does know the risks in neglecting a case like this on his end now that legal stipulation has amplified the attention of the city on matters concerning its citizens of color. It would be great if the rest of City Council felt the same way, but if they value citizen correspondence then there is hope, so I'll encourage the Lakewood populace to say their piece to their respective councilperson on this issue, as well as the candidates running. 

As to John's response, I use the library every day and do know its policies, and I don't think there isn't a citizen in this city who doesn't. I sometimes play music, podcasts, and movies at a volume that does disrupt my neighbor's own use, and often, a librarian will tell me to turn the volume down respectfully. But, I am white and this treatment is not given the same consideration if I was a person of color. You have mentioned that there is an "other side" and you assume that Sabrina Robinson's daughter was purposefully loud and disruptive when there is a reasonable doubt that she wasn't, and that being a black teenager in a predominantly white-run space is enough to be considered "loud" and "disruptive" to you, because the black body is something you may not feel entirely comfortable with, let alone black expression. If a person of color's presence is so disruptive to you, maybe you need to familiarize yourself with people of color more and get to know them and not let your prejudices and assumptions color your judgment because seeing race different than yours is a problem and Sabrina Robinson's daughter shouldn't have to pay the price of a broken jaw because of a physical assault done by a police officer for your prejudices and assumptions.

If it was your daughter, would you allow the mistreatment done against her by Officer Jones to stand? I would assume that you wouldn't. Police brutality happens to people's daughters and sons. Police brutality happens to people's mothers and fathers. Police brutality is an American reality and it needs to be solved. I can assume that since this case involves people whom you don't know, let alone socialize with, that you don't mind condoning police violence because it probably will never happen to you even though it has happened to people who live in this city because they want to probably for the same reason you do. But, since I don't technically know you except from your response, maybe you will respond and the real discussion about accountability and personal responsibility could continue. You could also sit in the discomfort of what reading this might reveal about you, but that's your call. I just don't want to see the national disease of police violence to infect this supposed sanctuary city known for its diversity and inclusive polices to affect my own sense of safety in this city that I've called home for close to three years. 

I still believe that police brutality has no place in Lakewood or any city. I wonder why people like Jon Mazzei need to feel safe at the price of someone's innocence, and why the need to assume guilt because it involves a person of color is so necessary. There is no point to ask for safety if not everyone feels safe, because that makes "protect and serve" a privilege, not a right, and that doesn't sit with me these days.  

Tim Collingwood

I am a Lakewood resident  who has  written blogs for Tumblr and  TCM, and was the Akron Classic Movie Examiner. I would like to write about issues pertaining to social justice issues and how they are affecting the Lakewood community. I believe in the power of citizen journalism. 

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Volume 13, Issue 14, Posted 12:35 PM, 07.18.2017