Aug 29, 2023 - News

Shaker PAC withdraws police reform ballot measure

17-year-old Ethan Khorana reads from a paper at outdoor event launching Shaker Citizens for Fair Ticketing event. People in jackets stands behind.

Ethan Khorana, 17, speaks at the Shaker Citizens for Fair Ticketing launch event. Photo: Courtesy of Sam Klein

The Shaker Citizens for Fair Ticketing PAC has withdrawn a police reform charter amendment for the November 2023 election in Shaker Heights after reaching a compromise with the city.

Why it matters: The proposed amendment, undertaken by teenage activists in response to disproportionate ticketing practices, would have beefed up a nonviolent crisis intervention team, established a civilian oversight board and created a digital records repository.

Driving the news: Shaker Heights City Council passed a resolution at its meeting Monday night adopting a framework for "Maintaining a Safe and Just Shaker."

  • The resolution, which will be pursued in lieu of the ballot measure, is the result of a series of conversations between the city and the PAC.

Details: The resolution calls for the following:

  • A community-wide "listening project," overseen by a third-party facilitator, to discuss policing policies.
  • The creation of an advisory group to work with the mayor, police chief and City Council on reforms.
  • Posting Shaker Heights Police Department records online to ease public access.

Plus: The city has committed to "continue working toward" expanding its mental health response program.

What they're saying: "This is all made possible because of Shaker Heights residents," Ethan Khorana, the 17-year old campaign manager for Shaker Citizens for Fair Ticketing, said in prepared remarks Monday.

  • "We do not scale back our aspirations. Even with complexity and controversy, we rise to the occasion. We have the tough conversations. We don't hide our issues, we face our issues. That is who we are. That is Shaker Heights."

The bottom line: In a joint statement, the city and the PAC acknowledged that bias in policing exists nationwide.

  • "Shaker Heights is committed to its efforts to combat this problem by continuing to work toward safe, equitable, transparent, and accountable policing," the statement read.

What's next: Per the resolution, the city will prepare and issue a request for proposals for the listening project facilitator next month.


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