That guy in the suit over there, the one who's walking all stridently down the linoleum of City Hall, is Public Safety Director Michael McGrath. He's walking out of City Council Chambers because the swell of anti-McGrath rhetoric was getting pretty heavy in there. Nothing new, but Cleveland is reaching new heights — new volumes, really — in its dissent against the administration.
Protesters had been chanting "McGrath must go!" Councilman Jeffrey Johnson had been calling on his dismissal
— and the ouster of all the "cowboys" in the police department
. And even as McGrath spent most of the meeting wheeled around in his chair, facing the audience and leering at the audience and finding it wholly impossible to avoid simply gazing into the audience, the audience gazed back.
When he and others from Mayor Frank Jackson's administration skipped out on the meeting in progress, Johnson continued his diatribe. Some audience members followed McGrath into the hallway, calling him a "coward."
(Jackson, it should be pointed out, wasn't there. He had previously committed to speaking at an eastside church forum on violence.)
Of all the extraordinary moments in “civic anger news” this week, this little event constitutes perhaps the most striking image. That's not because it shows us anything new
about the administrative character at City Hall, but rather because, in the face of fever-pitch anger 'round the city, the contrast of those living in one Cleveland and those living in the other is become all too clear.
As promised by many people over the last two weeks, the demands
won't abate anytime soon. The public safety director just guaranteed as much.
UPDATE: Here's Jeff Johnson's speech
, which he apparently recorded himself.