LIMA — National protests have turned violent against police officers in light of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis recently. The incident highlights a perceived trend of law enforcement discriminating against people of color.
Lima has had peaceful protests, and now the Lima chapter of the NAACP has come out with 10 proposals “that will assist with criminal justice reform” in the Lima Police Department, Allen County Sheriff’s Department and the Ohio State Highway Patrol, local leaders said.
On Saturday, the organization held a news conference at Grace Church Worldwide Ministries in Lima to call for a number of things, including eliminating “pinpoint policing,” or what Rev. Ronald Fails calls “racial profiling.”
“(It) does nothing but give police an opportunity to live in the Black community and stop everything that is moving, and the result of that is it’s crippling us. So we say take your knee off our neck and get your hand out of our pockets,” said Fails, president of the local NAACP chapter.
Fails indicated Blacks account for 13% of the population in Lima but “50-plus percent of everything that is running through municipal court.”
Recently Lima City Council passed a resolution declaring racism a public health concern. NAACP leaders said that was what the organization has been saying all along, and now it’s recognized by Lima Mayor David Berger and Lima City Council.
“I must admit, I am happy to see that and to know that it is finally being acknowledged. We as a unit have been working now for many years to enlighten the leadership of the city that we had a huge, huge problem,” Fails said. “There are issues that are going on, that could easily end up looking like what we’ve just seen in Minnesota, and as an organization that is about civil rights and fighting for the rights of all men and women, demand change. Let’s lift the burden of people that have been victimized as a result of systemic, institutionalized racism.”
He’s hoping the 10-part proposal opens a dialogue to start making meaningful changes as far as race relations go in Lima-Allen County.
“In good faith, we come before our city leaders with a proposal to deal with law enforcement and deal with reforming our criminal justice system,” Fais said.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.