United States District Court Judge
For The Northern District of Ohio
Senior Judge Solomon Oliver, Jr.
Carl B. Stokes United States Court House
801 West Superior Avenue, Courtroom 17A
Cleveland, Ohio 44113-1838
Recent developments leave the community with renewed concerns regarding the integrity and decision making capacity of the court’s independent monitor. The decision to remove professor Ayesha Bell Hardaway – the lone local subject matter expert and Black community member – from the substantive work on the Monitoring Team is especially problematic in light of the false assertion that her truthful comments on a radio show somehow rendered her incapable of being objective. The independent monitor who serves as the eyes and ears of the Court needs to be trusted and fair.
It is not lost upon the community and those seeking to advocate for the community, that a very strategic plan is afoot by those not interested in achieving any accountability nor authoritative community oversight. From the onset the city has appeared to operate in bad faith, beginning with the hiring of Greg White, who was a part of the previous federally negotiated change to our police force, the failures of which resulted in the settlement agreement you currently oversee. Mr White has long shown his bias, from the blue lives matter flag on his truck to his calling the ACLU, NAACP and Black Lives Matter anti-police. Throughout his tenure he has expressed a desire to get the consent decree done quickly. Not with an emphasis on getting it right or satisfying the needs of the community and he is now on course to achieve this. This would be a repeat of the results of the failed 2004 Memorandum of Agreement that Mr. White oversaw on behalf of the Department of Justice. This is seemingly why he was hired by the outgoing mayor.
As Prof. Hardaway is quoted by IdeaStream: Ayesha Bell Hardaway Forced Out Of Cleveland Police Monitoring Team | News | ideastream
“Hardaway said she was first made aware of the concerns about her objectivity in May, but there’s been “hostility” from the city since she was appointed deputy monitor in 2019.
“From Greg White [consent decree coordinator] with the city of Cleveland, to be specific,” Hardaway told Ideastream Tuesday. White called her shortly after she was made deputy monitor, “and said, ‘I want to tell you to your face what I’ve been saying behind your back. You’re too much of an advocate for the community and the [Cleveland Community Police Commission]. I don’t think you should be in this role.’”
The Chief Monitor Hassan Aden like Greg White is far from being unbiased in the rendering of his duties. As this 21 year veteran and former police chief serves supposedly as the “eyes and ears” of the presiding Judge, he is far from being a fiduciary. Mr. Aden who serves more as a consultant on policy for the city can not and should not be expected to be impartial or objective when he must report on the policy he has crafted. One need not look far for an example of his dishonesty as he asserted that the DOJ was aligned with his stance on Professor Hardaway, yet recent statements from the northern district attorney are quite to the contrary, as she praised former Deputy Monitor Hardaway. All of the aforementioned in this letter coupled with the numerous instances of the city’s non compliance amounts to a unified front to obstruct by The City of Cleveland including Greg White and by Hassan Aden.
As more and more people become aware of the ouster of the former Deputy Monitor, those who had hopes for the consent decree have lost hope. This is due in part to no longer having a vested and experienced Black expert from the area having a say in matters of compliance. Everyone is aware she will likely be replaced with a more police bias and inexperienced replacement who will not seek true compliance from the city and law enforcement, in the interests of keeping their job.
If this stands , it is as if the DOJ has packed up the consent decree and left Cleveland already.
With Sincere Urgency,
Black Lives Matter Cleveland