Breaking News
More () »

Akron City Council approves candidates to citizens' police oversight board

The candidacy of 27-year-old Black attorney Imokhai Okolo had split the council during previous meetings. His name was not on the list of nominees for approval.

AKRON, Ohio — After a pair of failed attempts, Akron City Council succeeded in appointing members to the new Citizens’ Police Oversight Board on Wednesday.

During a special meeting, the council unanimously approved Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan's three appointments as well as their own nominees to the board. 

Here are the members of the board:

Mayor Dan Horrigan's appointments:

  • Beverly Richards
  • Tristan Reed
  • Shawn Peoples

Akron City Council's appointments:

  • Donzella Anuszkiewicz
  • Kemp Boyd
  • Caitlin Castle
  • Robert Gippin
  • Diane Lewis

Ward 4 Akron City Councilman Russell Neal abstained in the vote for Boyd, explaining that he has done business with him in the past and did not want any appearance of conflict of interest.

You can watch Wednesday's special meeting in the player below:

One key name was missing from the list of nominees for councilmembers to approve during its special meeting.

The candidacy of 27-year-old Black attorney Imokhai Okolo had split the council during previous meetings. At issue is Okolo's past social media posts referring to the Akron Police Department as "pigs" in the aftermath of Jayland Walker's shooting death. 

During Monday's contentious meeting, council voted 6-5 with one abstention to approve its list of candidates, which included Okolo. A supermajority of nine votes was required for the council's nominees to pass.

One of the councilmembers who voted no on Monday was Donnie Kammer of Ward 7. Kammer stated he was voting no due to "campaign contributions that have been made to councilmembers that are really pushing the agenda for the citizens review board." 

Ward 8 Akron City Councilman Shammas Malik responded that Okolo had donated to his campaign, but added that "no contribution that has ever been made to me has ever influenced a single thing I have done here."

Many residents spoke up on behalf of Okolo and against the council during the public comment session of Monday's meeting.

Last November, around 62% of Akron voters said yes to Issue 10. The passed measure ordered Akron City Council and Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan to create new rules for a civilian police oversight board and police auditor this year. The deadline for the panel to be seated was Feb. 27.

Before You Leave, Check This Out