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WARREN Group claims 2 more police brutality cases



Published: Thu, January 24, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



A federal official is to return to the city next week to meet with the coalition.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

and AMANDA DAVIS

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- Members of the Warren Trumbull County Coalition say they have two more allegations of police brutality.

Thomas Conley, president of the Warren-Trumbull Urban League, said this morning he does not have the police reports and does not want to discuss details of the cases.

He said the cases stem from December arrests involving white police officers and minorities. He said at least one person who was arrested had to be treated at a hospital.

"There have been recent incidents of alleged use of excessive force and what appears to be the continued use of racial profiling," Conley said. He noted that because of the December allegations, an official with the U.S. Department of Justice met with city officials and the victims Jan. 15.

Police Chief John Mandopoulos could not be reached this morning.

Members of the coalition say the official with the U.S. Department of Justice is expected to return for another meeting next week.

Progress made: "We have had some positive talks with the police department and we have seen some progress," Conley said.

The Rev. Alton Merrell Sr., president of the Warren Trumbull Minister Alliances, said there have also been complaints from white citizens about police brutality.

"This is not just a white-black issue," he said.

The coalition, formed last year to help improve relationships between minorities and the police department, spoke out on the issues this morning at the Warren-Trumbull Urban League.

Mayor Hank Angelo and Fred Harris, safety-service director, have been meeting with the justice department for several months. Both have declined to say if they felt the city had a race problem.

Harris recently said that he thinks some police officers have a problem with him because he is black.

Police officers deny the allegation.

Mayor's view: The mayor said he is hoping the coalition and the justice department can help the city create a better relationship between minorities and the police department.

The coalition was chosen by Birdia Roberts, president of the local chapter of the NAACP.

Members include the Rev. Edgar Fisher, Conley and other black community leaders.

The coalition has taken issue with the city's hiring and recruitment practices, citizen-complaint procedures and training for police officers.

The group contends other problems are racial profiling and a lack of community policing.

Gustavo Gaynett, director of the U.S. Justice Department's Detroit office, said he got involved after receiving several calls from residents.

sinkovich@vindy.com or davis@vindy.com




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