WARREN POLICE Concerned citizens plan demonstration
Anyone interested in sharing concerns about police brutality is invited.
By PEGGY SINKOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- Citizens concerned about police brutality plan to demonstrate outside the police department Friday.
Organizers Glenn Matlock and James "Doc" Pugh, former president of the local NAACP, say they want the demonstration to be positive.
"This is a peaceful demonstration," Matlock said. "We want this to help bring healing and bring people together. We want to share our concerns. We want to help make this city a better place to live."
Anyone interested in taking part in the demonstration from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. is invited, Matlock said.
A community forum will follow from 3 to 6 p.m. in the Trumbull County Action Program building, 1230 Palmyra Road S.W.
Mayor Hank Angelo and other city officials are also holding community awareness meetings, but Matlock said some community members may not feel comfortable attending one held by city officials.
The mayor is holding a community awareness meeting today to discuss race relations. 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.
Angelo has called the meeting to develop a plan of action to improve race relations.
Addressing issues: "We want to share our concerns and hear the other side's concerns," Matlock said. "Year after year, we have heard complaints about police brutality, and we need to get all this out in the open to start making things better."
The police department received one official complaint in June about police brutality, city officials said.
Lamont Murray, 29, of Warren, contends that Sgt. Rob Massucci and patrol officer David Weber used excessive force when they arrested him June 25.
The police department's internal affairs division is investigating. Police Chief John Mandopoulos said he will ask the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation to probe the matter when his department is finished.
Police said they stopped the car Murray was riding in because the driver 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.
Talks: 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. Closed-door discussions have taken place, but details of the talks have not been disclosed.
Mandopoulos said Monday he was unaware that the demonstration and forum were planned and he was not invited.
"If there is a problem, anyone is invited to contact me at any time," the chief said. "Some people like to try their case in the media because they like the media attention."
Both Mandopoulos and Angelo said they don't have a problem with the demonstration or the forum.
"This is America and people are allowed to demonstrate," the chief said.