Titillating Tidbits: NAACP, CWRU Lead Backlash Over Deputy Monitor's Forced Resignation, Plus East Cleveland's Police Chase Problem


Ayesha Bell-Hardaway - CWRU HEADSHOT
  • CWRU headshot
  • Ayesha Bell-Hardaway

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Reaction has been vocal and consistent in the wake of assistant police monitor Ayesha Bell-Hardaway's forced resignation over accurate remarks she made concerning the murder of George Floyd during an NPR interview. Those comments rankled head monitor Hassan Aden, who Bell-Hardaway has said threatened to remove her from her deputy position overseeing police reforms to a community engagement role.

Seen by many as an action antithetical to the mission of the monitor team, the clash has drawn backlash from Case Western Reserve University, where Bell-Hardaway is a professor, researcher and director of the Social Justice Law Center, the Cleveland branch of the NAACP and Black Lives Matter Cleveland.

“You would never fire a doctor for diagnosing a problem. Ayesha Bell Hardaway is diagnosing a problem. We have systemic issues in policing and it is our job to make sure that we have the reform that's necessary. No one wants to have a decree, but the reality is it's necessary to get the reform that our citizens need," said Danielle Sydnor of the Cleveland NAACP.

In a statement, CWRU said, "This outcome is disappointing for many reasons, not least of which is the treatment of Professor Hardaway after six years of dedicated service on the monitoring team. Even more worrisome, however, is the signal sent regarding a body that ostensibly exists to serve the public interest. The group no longer will benefit from Professor Hardaway’s considerable expertise as a legal scholar, seasoned litigator, and former Cuyahoga County prosecutor. Going forward, other monitoring team members with concerns may not air them because of fear they, too, might be ousted."

For her part, Bell-Hardaway said in her resignation letter, "I recognize that it is a tall order for some to accept the reality that violence exists in American policing and that systemic change is needed in order to address the longstanding and disproportionate impact that excessive use of force by police has had on Black people. However, the work of police reform is rooted in some of these hard truths."

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