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WARREN Leaders continue race talks



Published: Sat, August 18, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Officials hope to develop a plan to improve race relations.

By AMANDA C. DAVIS

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- The city is taking its second step toward addressing a sensitive issue.

The next community awareness meeting to discuss race relations will be from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Tuesday in the city's Community Development building, 418 Main Ave. S.W. On the guest list are community leaders, representatives from Warren's 104 churches and officials from the Warren-Trumbull Urban League and the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Mayor Hank Angelo has called the meeting to develop a plan of action to improve race relations. Cathy Bercheni, the city's equal opportunity coordinator, said officials want to be proactive and head off a potential situation like the race riots in Cincinnati.

Blacks and cops have been clashing there after a black man was shot to death by a white police officer April 7. The shooting sparked a week of what is described as the city's worst riots in 30 years. Cliff Johnson, a former Warren schoolteacher and principal, facilitated a meeting and has been asked to head up Tuesday's gathering.

Complaint: Angelo initiated a community awareness breakfast June 25 to address ways to avoid racial unrest.

Later that day, Lamont Murray, 29, of Warren filed a complaint saying Sgt. Rob Massucci and patrol officer David Weber used excessive force when they arrested him.

The police department's internal affairs division is investigating. Mandopoulos said he will ask the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation to probe the matter when the department is finished.

Police said they stopped the car Murray was riding in because the driver of the vehicle failed to put on a turn signal before making a turn.

Murray is facing charges of assault of a police officer, obstructing official business and resisting arrest. He has pleaded innocent and is free on a $3,500 bond.

A few days after Murray was pulled over, the U.S. Justice Department contacted the city, saying it was sending a representative to meet with officials. A few closed door meetings have been held but details of the talks have not been disclosed.




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