Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken has asked the Justice Department to stop overseeing police reforms begun after riots in 2001, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. In a letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft, Luken said city police officers and supervisors have achieved “outstanding results” and should be allowed to run the department as they see fit. He said Justice Department demands have become a nuisance. “I don’t see why we have to put our police department through this silliness,” Luken told the newspaper. “That’s enough. Go find the terrorists or something. You don’t have to do this in Cincinnati, Ohio.” The court-appointed monitor who oversees the reforms disagreed with Luken’s claim that the city is ready to end its 2002 agreement with the Justice Department.
Civil rights lawyers who helped negotiate the agreement said the mayor’s comments suggest that he isn’t serious about meaningful change. “It’s delusional to suggest everything is fine and everyone should just go away,” said Scott Greenwood of the American Civil Liberties Union. “Their goal is not to fix the department but to get out from under the agreement as soon as possible.” The settlement consists of two separate agreements: a deal between the Justice Department and the city to reform the police department and a “collaborative agreement” dedicated to improving the relationship between police and African-Americans.