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Some want Smitherman replaced as Law/Public Safety chairman

Sarah Ramsey

Some Cincinnati residents are asking Mayor John Cranley to replace the chairman of Council's Law and Public Safety Committee.  

About a dozen people testified Wednesday during the public comment portion of the weekly council meeting.  They are upset with comments Christopher Smitherman apparently made about the black community and it leaders protecting criminals.  

Resident Shirley Felton said it is wrong.

“Having the chair of the Law and Public Safety division publicly, and metaphorically, slap the parents, neighbors and volunteers across the face who are trying to convince these witnesses to come forth sabotages our efforts,” Felton said.

Those speaking are asking for Cranley to replace Smitherman by May 9th.  The mayor did not offer any comments during the meeting on the issue.  

Smitherman makes no apologies for his comments.

“I’m glad people came down today, I don’t mind that they’re upset, I’m glad that they’re waking up,” Smitherman said.  “You know we’ve had I think it was 70 murders last year, the majority of those African-American men, we’ve got to stop it.  I’m going to keep pressing.”

A handful of the public speakers did praise Smitherman and said Cranley should not remove him as chairman.  

Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.