The NAACP was in community meeting on May 29th, to address concerns in the black community. Major Cortez of the Lima Police Department was present at that meeting. He stated that the biggest problem between the black community and the department is trust.
Cortez perfectly identified the problem and it will continue to be a problem if this department continues to delay the purchase of body cameras. It will continue to be a problem if the department doesn’t hold officers who repeatedly use excessive force, accompanied with antagonizing blacks as in the incident at St. Gerard Festival. Officer Hart kicked a black teenager a few weeks ago. Now, Hart ripped the clothes off a black woman, Ashley Hardy. He tased her to the point that she suffers from permanent nerve damaged because the mechanism had to be surgically remove from bone in her hand.
The video shot by a reporter with The Lima News and the article in the paper doesn’t reflect the woman’s account of the events, instead a bias view. Hardy filed a complaint with NAACP. Hardy complied with the officer’s commands by leaving the premises of the carnival. Hart followed her and continued to make comments to her after she vacated the premises.
The NAACP doesn’t indict the whole police department, but we indict the mayor, police chief, and other city officials who won’t hold reckless officers accountable. Those officers who assault black women are no different than slave masters who raped black women during slavery. Their actions are evidence of entitlement to use inappropriate tactics and such actions should be met with severe sanctions from the police department.
Ron Fails, president of the Lima chapter of the NAACP