CLEVELAND - It has been coming for many months. The march had some of Cleveland walking and a lot of Cleveland talking. A good thing. Some Cleveland voices are loud at times, but the city is talking about what needs to be talked about. Questions of justice and police procedures and tactics. And attitudes.
Demonstrators marched from Euclid Avenue and E. 6th Street to City Hall today. The group was the greater Cleveland congregations — members of forty different religious congregations — Christians, Jews, Muslims — walking with a single purpose. The group pushed for reform in the Cleveland and county criminal justice systems.
The cry has been there for years. But it was the Brelo verdict, which throttled these latest efforts. The demonstrators disagree with the "not guilty" verdict. But underneath it all was more, some of it revolving around the Tamir Rice case of the 12-year-old boy who played with an airsoft gun when a police officer thought it was real when he shot and killed the boy.
The protestors' letter to Mayor Jackson pushes him to push for criminal justice reform. But Jackson was already pushing for that. He said it has been a push since he assumed office years ago.
Today's peaceful demonstration reached the steps of City Hall. Demonstrators were talking. So were Mayor Jackson and U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach. They stood shoulder-to-shoulder announcing an agreement reached between Cleveland and the U.S. Justice Department on the federal government's troubling finds of how Cleveland police have used force.
The mayor told me he did not have a problem with the department of justice. He told me, "We have a structure in place to have real reform."
Cleveland and the federal government have reached an agreement. Much has taken place in Cleveland in the last few years.
The city is working toward finding solutions to problems, which hang over us like an umbrella filled with holes which cannot stop the storm.
Cleveland appears to be getting a new umbrella, realizing we are all under the same umbrella — one way or another.