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“A Great Partnership”: Former OH Democratic Lawmaker Praises Kasich’s Police Reforms After Killings

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While former Ohio state Senator Nina Turner disagrees with Republican presidential candidate and Ohio Governor John Kasich on reproductive rights and many other issues, she praises his record on police reform. Kasich created a task force on policing and signed an executive order calling for statewide standards for law enforcement on the use of deadly force and hiring. The reforms came after the fatal police shootings in Ohio of 12-year-old Tamir Rice and John Crawford, who was killed inside a Wal-Mart for holding an air rifle that was on sale at the store. Turner co-chaired Gov. Kasich’s task force that recommended police reforms in the wake of the killings.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re broadcasting from Westerville, Ohio, from the area that Governor Kasich, the Republican presidential candidate, represented in Congress, where he’s from. Nina Turner, I wanted to ask you about your work, before we talk about your support of Democratic presidential candidates, your work with Governor Kasich.


AMY GOODMAN: Governor Kasich asked you to co-chair the Ohio task force on community and police relations. He talked about the task force during the Republican debate last month.

GOV. JOHN KASICH: I created a task force well over a year ago. And the purpose was to bring law enforcement, community people, clergy. And the person that I named as one of the co-chairmen is a lady by the name of Nina Turner, a former state senator, a liberal Democrat—actually ran against one my friends—and our head of public safety. And they sat down as a group, trying to make sure that we can begin to heal some of these problems that we see between community and police.

AMY GOODMAN: So that is Governor Kasich talking about how he deals with issues of police in the community. As you said, you have tangled with the governor on many issues, fiercely disagree with him, for example, about Planned Parenthood. Nina Turner, can you talk about the relationship you have with the governor around the issue of police, and what you’re doing and what he’s doing here in the state of Ohio?

NINA TURNER: And thank you for that, Amy, because we do talk a lot about disagreements across party lines, but I have to give it to the governor. In 2014, we had the shooting of young Tamir Rice on a playground in my city of Cleveland, Ohio. He was shot less than two seconds from the police opening the car door—very tragic, very painful, especially for the family. And then, in Beavercreek, you know, the same year, we had John Crawford III, he was shot inside a Wal-Mart store. He had picked up a gun that is sold in that store, and he was shot, again, given no notice whatsoever. He was not breaking any laws.

And so, right before Thanksgiving, the governor called me, and he wanted to know how people in Cleveland were feeling, especially on the heels of young Tamir Rice being gunned down in that way. And we talked about the heaviness that folks were feeling in Cleveland. I asked the governor, could I come and meet with him, that I was sending him a letter, because I really believed that he had the power to be able to give the citizens of this state an outlet. And people are either going to be constructive in that outlet or destructive in that outlet, when things have built up so. And the governor did meet with myself and Senator Sandra Williams and also state Representative Alicia Reece from the Cincinnati area, and we had a very good and robust meeting. And we asked the governor to do something.

And he did. He signed an executive order creating the task force, Amy. And I am so proud of our work together on this. For the first time in Ohio’s history, law enforcement agencies will have standards relating to the use of force, the use of deadly force, and hiring in the state of Ohio—first time. We’re also working on whether or not what the state—what kind of standards we will put forward for the use of cameras. We’re also looking at implicit bias within the police department—you know, there’s a lot—whether or not we need to collect data. There are empirical data out there that shows that African-American and Hispanic sisters and brothers in this country are treated differently and that justice is not that just.

The governor did not hesitate, Amy. He did not play politics with this. It wasn’t about being a Republican or a Democrat. He answered the call. He signed that executive order. And we are getting things done in Ohio. And that is without one incident of violence. The first governor in the United States of America to act—not react, but to act—and to give citizens that outlet. And I am most proud of that and really delighted to be a co-chair of the task force and now the collaborative that the governor created. It’s a great partnership in this.

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Nina Turner on Switching from Clinton to Sanders: He’s Been a “Constant Champion” of Civil Rights

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