Zero-tolerance policy on slurs on council’s agenda

By Josh Ellerbrock -

LIMA — After reports of a city employee using the “n-word” emerged Sunday, Councilor Jamie Dixon moved that city council consider adopting a “zero-tolerance policy” towards racial slurs during council’s Monday night meeting.

City Council’s Human Resources Committee will be discussing the potential resolution in a yet to be announced public hearing.

“We live in a day and age where racial slurs become common in everyday life,” Dixon said. “The comment that was stated, that should have been grounds for termination.”

Dixon’s motion got a few reactions of support from the individuals in the packed room, including NAACP Lima chapter president Ron Fails. In a rare occurrence, every seat was filled in the council chambers with a few in attendance leaning against the back wall.

Council members praised the high turnout.

Councilor Derry Glenn, who acted as president during the meeting due to the absence of John Nixon, said this type of civic engagement shows the city administration what the people desire.

“We should demand from the mayor what we want. We put him in office. [The] 5th and 6th Ward put him over the line,” Glenn said. “That’s what we got to look at. We voted. We put him in office. Make him work.”

“At the end of the day, we may make legislation,” Dixon said. “But we make it off the backs of you.”

Outside of the racial slur incident, some audience members attended the meeting because of a related event on July 20 when the 16-year-old son of Courtney Owens, who is black, was pulled over by an Allen County deputy for riding his bike on the sidewalk.

According to Owens, the deputy turned around to follow her son for two blocks and pulled him over for riding his bike on the sidewalk in the business district. Two more cruisers were called to the scene.

Owens said she knows that it is illegal to ride a bike on the sidewalk, but the officers’ questioning her son about trafficking drugs and their disrespectful behavior showed racial bias.

“[My son] felt like everyone was looking at him and pointing at him like was a common criminal,” Owens said.

Owens said she has reached out the Allen County Sheriff Matt Treglia to get on answer about her son’s treatment by deputies. She has yet to hear his response.

“They picked that kid just to be picking with him. They didn’t know he had a mother that cared about him,” Glenn said.

By Josh Ellerbrock

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

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