Racial tension allegedly high with Akron police

10:08 PM, Sep 23, 2002   |    comments
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  • "I have received death threats without those threats being investigated and subjected to constant harrassment by supervisors with the consent of the chief of police," said detective Greg Harrison. The Black Police Officers' Association has now filed a civil suit asking for federal intervention. Harrison says racial tensions within the Akron Police Department are so tense that he and other minorities now live with constant threats from white officers and supervisors. "Officers have verbally stated that if I'm ever in need of any type of emergency asistance, they will not respond," said Harrison. "An officer made the comment that if I were assigned to his car, they would find me in the trunk of his car." In his civil rights complaint, Harrison alleges that white officers routinely make false arrests of minority citizens and even lie about the evidence. He also says that racial profiling is condoned and that qualified minority candidates are kept off the force while substandard whites are hired. "There have been non-minority officers hired who have criminal convictions, admitted drug use, even admitted drug sales," said Harrison. Harrison's allegations surfaced six months ago, prompting city hall to launch its own internal investigation. On Monday, Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic released a statement saying, "The city of Akron has spent thousands of dollars and invested hundreds of hours, including overtime hours, investigating the accusations. Detective Harrison is well aware that these complaints are the subject of an intense investigation because he himself has been interviewed about the complaints." While that investigation is completed, Harrison says he and other minority officers will continue to live in fear. "We are harassed when we answer what would amount to negligence by another officer, then we are attacked for that experience," said Harrison. The civil suit includes serious allegations that murder investigations have been compromised because of racial problems. City hall says its internal investigation should be done in a few weeks.

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