Hours before the shooting that killed an undercover police officer, Cleveland City Council members expressed their frustration over the recent rise in crime in the city.
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Over the course of a sometimes heated four-and-a-half-hour long Safety Committee Meeting on Thursday afternoon, various council members addressed violence, as well as a perceived shortage of available officers to deal with such matters.
"We've had several people shot in my neighborhood that if we would have had this kind of violence in any other community, you would have had a declared state of emergency. In any other community -- I've got several bodies now in my neighborhood," Ward 1 Councilman Joseph T. Jones said. "We have residents who are moving out of the neighborhood because they just can't take it anymore just because of this violence uptick that has happened in our community."
"What we're seeing today, in my opinion, is unprecedented, the level of violence and what we're experiencing," added Ward 8 Councilman Michael D. Polensek, who is the longest-serving Council member in the city's history. "We need more police on the street. We need more community engagement, more real community policing, which I don't see happening... at the end of the day, we've got this tsunami of crime and violence taking place, where people are just afraid."
You can watch the full meeting in the video below.
Hours after Thursday's meeting, 53-year-old detective James Skernivitz of the Cleveland Police Department was shot and killed while working undercover in the area of West 65th Street and Storer Avenue. A second person, 50-year-old Scott Dingess, was also shot and killed and three people have since been arrested in connection with the incident.