Support for Okolo, Akron City Council comments about police outrageous

This is response to guest columnist Kelly Urbano’s recent opinion piece, “Why can't Akron City Council understand young Black men fear police?"I would ask, why can’t young Black men understand some council members might reasonably oppose placing an “outraged young black man,” demonstrably lacking in self-control, on a “review board” created to “oversee” the police?

How discouraging indeed to see so many people — Urbano, the council members who bungled the vote and embarrassed our city and the elected officials who slander the police department — all of whom “appear“ so incapable of understanding the rage felt by those who take good government and public safety seriously. These are people who follow seemingly inconsequential rules, obey even the inconvenient “little laws" and who detest hypocrisy.

It is an outrage that Imokhai Okolo’s supporters cannot see that his published statements disqualify him outright from consideration for the police review board. How could any police officer subject to that board’s oversight have any confidence in the objectivity or judgment of a member who publicly derides those he supervises as “pigs” and “union pawns”?

Okolo shows other biases in his writings, including “there is not a single young black person below the age of 40 on this board.” How could any cop over age forty have confidence of a fair hearing from Okolo? He clearly lacks the maturity, discretion and temperament necessary to give a police review board credibility. Such a board’s members must be seen as trustworthy and objective for it to be effective or useful and it is outrageous that he and his supporters reflexively dismiss such concerns as “racist."

It is an outrage that elected government officials are permitted, without rebuke or censure, to slander the departments and employees they supervise, especially where the alleged “murder victim” would likely be alive had he not run from the police; discharged a firearm in their sight, then refused to obey lawful orders to stop and get down on the ground.

Fortunately, “outrage” does not count for much nowadays.

Timothy H. Champion is a resident of Akron.

This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Support for Okolo, Akron City Council comments about police outrageous