AKRON, Ohio – The NAACP of Akron along with some members of the Akron City Council and city leaders have said it’s time for simple but meaningful change in the wake of the fatal shooting of Jayland Walker by Akron police.
The group outlined plans for a charter amendment to secure a civilian review board in the November ballot at a press conference on Tuesday.
The group last week filed a petition it says has 7,000 signatures to the council clerk in favor of a ballot initiative that would create a citizen police oversight board.
State Senator Vernon Sykes addressed a crowd at the press conference and outlined his plan for the Citizen Police Oversight Board.
The senator said the petition and signatures have been forwarded to the Board of Elections, where they are counted. Sykes said they could finalize that count as early as Tuesday and decide if there are enough verified signatures.
The vote initiative would be for an amendment to the city charter that would create a three-person board consisting of a full-time auditor, an assistant auditor and an administrative assistant, and a board of directors. citizen review. The auditor and council would review citizen complaints, but would not directly impose the policy. They would make suggestions intended to bridge the gap between the community and law enforcement.
Reverend Nanette Pitt, senior minister of the First Congregational Church of Akron, also spoke at the press conference.
“A charter amendment to the Akron constitution can only be passed by the residents, by the voters,” Pitt said. “This is an opportunity for all of us to take a step towards transparency, accountability and create an Akron that we all are proud to call home, that provides everyone with equal protection under the law”
If the measure has enough verified signatures, the Akron City Council could meet as early as Thursday to vote to put it on the ballot in November.
The deadline for doing this is close of business on Friday.