Crowd Packs Meeting As Oakwood Responds To Report Charging Racial Bias In City Policing
Oakwood city officials are promising to review police policies and continue a program in anti-bias training for officers.
At an Oakwood City Council meeting Monday night, officials addressed a report released this fall by the nonprofit Legal Aid firm Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, or ABLE, which found one-third of all Oakwood traffic tickets written in 2016 went to black drivers in a city with a black population of less than 1 percent.
Oakwood officials dispute the report’s methodology and say its data isn’t comprehensive or conclusive.
Monday’s packed council meeting was the second time this fall the council has directly addressed allegations of racially biased policing stemming from the September report.
The ABLE report calls for Oakwood police to participate in anti-bias training and stop the practice of randomly running license plates through a department database. Oakwood officials say officers already participate in anti-bias training on a regular basis, and that running plates is both legal and the most effective way of seeing if drivers are licensed and registered.
Resident Sam Dorf says the council could avoid future allegations of racism by putting together a taskforce on diversity now.
“It would be really great to get a bunch of citizens together, faith leaders, community members, experts on community relations," he said, "to get together to really look at these issues.”
Other residents at the meeting said they like that Oakwood police pull over a lot of people of every race. They say it keep the streets safe.
Resident John Ennis said he wants the city to respond by, “increasing police enforcement with the addition of red light and speed enforcement cameras,” adding, “cameras cannot be accused of bias, even if the citations they produce do not distribute the way ABLE thinks they should.”
For its part, the Oakwood City Council didn’t commit to making any significant changes in police policy.