YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Just a day after Tyre Nichols was laid to rest in Memphis, nearly a dozen local clergy with the group ACTION Inc. gathered outside Youngstown police headquarters to show solidarity with Nichols and other victims of abuse by law enforcement.
“We want to deal with getting that ‘George Floyd Act’ policing act back in legislation,” said Jeff Stanford, pastor at Progressive Baptist Church in Warren.
The police reform legislation is now getting renewed support in the wake of Nichols’ beating death following a reported traffic stop.
“If you see another police officer doing something wrong … you have the right to stand up and tell them to stop,” Stanford said.
Even so, the group applauds local police departments for their training programs, which have been in place for years.
“The training that takes place in Youngstown and Warren is — and should be — a model for other communities,” said Michael Harrison, pastor with Union Baptist Church in Youngstown.
Following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota in 2020, Gov. Mike DeWine instituted a number of police reforms, including the statewide bank on chokeholds used by police to subdue suspects.
The pastors at the gathering on Thursday say these steps are good, but following through is needed.
“Let’s make sure there’s a monitoring process that’s in place, that’s not biased or slanted, whereby whatever wrong takes place, it’s appropriately addressed,” Harrison said.
In Warren, DeWine said his new budget proposal includes money for additional training for every active officer in the state.
“This really needs to be done every single year. It is the right standard,” DeWine said.