Medina’s Police Reform Committee Takes Statements from Residents on Inclusivity and Racism

According to attendees at Medina’s Police Reform Committee public forum earlier this week, not only does local law enforcement require reform, but the makeup of the committee itself has not met the mark for adequate representation of minority communities.

Cheryl Brady Thompson, a mother of two teen boys in Medina, spoke to the committee at this week’s Police Policy Reform Meeting held within the Medina Theatre on Main Street to facilitate social distancing.  She asked, “How was this committee formulated?  Who appointed those that are on this committee?  And will this committee be any larger than it currently is?”

Brady expanded, giving her impression that the committee does not consist of enough minority representation, noting, “I don’t see representation on this committee that represents the community in and of itself.  So, there’s a lot of doubt that the reform which could be developed would be beneficial to all.”

Committee Member Scott Robinson, who led this week’s public forum on police policy reform, stated, “It is spread out.  It is a diverse committee.”  Reportedly, the committee has 14 member openings, although only 12 could be found publicly listed:  Daniel Doctor, Pastor Jovannie Canales, Mayor Michael Sidari, Jacquie Chinn, Lt. Todd Draper, Scott Robinson, Sherry Tuohey, Chief Chad Kenward, David and Cynthia King, District Attorney Joe Cardone and Public Defender Joanne Best.

One Orleans County resident attending from Albion, Betty Garcia Mathewson, equated Western New York to the deep south in harboring racist views and values.  To fight this, she stated, “We need lots more diversity at the table.” Mathewson also emphasized an unnamed study to support the assertion of pervasive racism in this region, we believe she was referring to this 2015 Washington Post article studying key Google search phrases as the sole guiding metric: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/04/28/the-most-racist-places-in-america-according-to-google/

Furthermore, Mathewson “invited” the current committee, and village board ultimately overseeing their actions, to add more diversity into the room.

Mayor Mike Sidari said he would be happy to accommodate more voices at the policy writing table.  Those policies, in accordance with orders from Albany, will be due to the Governor’s Office by April 1st 2021. 

Medina Mayor Mike Sidari speaks.

Apart from discussion on the committee’s makeup itself, some limited conversations on the reallocation of resources for developing mental health crisis response resources was lightly broached.  Additionally, the topic of more minority candidates for the Medina Police Department and how to attract them there was briefly entertained.