Questions on the Lack of Police Accountability Arise During Erie City Council Meeting


Erie, PA (August 17, 2016) Erie City Council Members preparing for the city council meeting to begin at City Hall.

On Wednesday August 17, citizens of Erie attended the Erie City Council Meeting at Bagnoni Council Chambers at City Hall. A man spoke on the subject of the “effective code enforcement” and he was very vocal with his opinion on the reasoning why the city did not provide 2% of H.U.D. funding to inner city centers. A woman also spoke on a non-profit organization that was seeking funding from the city in order to provide assistance to young ladies with low self-esteem.

As time passed by a man approached the podium and he was very upset. He began to share his opinion on the arrest of Montrice Bolden and the use of excessive force. He then asked the councilmembers why weren’t any of the arresting officers suspend, fired, or even held accountable for their actions that was caught on tape during the evening of June 27, 2016. The federal civil rights lawsuit filed by Tyrone Morrow also came up as a subject. As the man proceeded to speak, he brought up a similar situation that caught the attention of citizens and raised questions regarding the ethics and arresting procedures conducted by the Erie Police Department.

According to YourErie, on Monday August 15, an assistant Erie County district attorney named Matthew Cullen, was accused of grabbing a police officer’s gun near East Seventh and French streets around 6:30 a.m. The Erie Police Department filed a third-degree felony count of disarming a law enforcement officer against Cullen, which is the same charge that was filed against Bolden. states that the arrest was caught on tape, just like Bolden’s arrest. Yet people feel there is a great difference between these two incidents. The use of excessive force during the Bolden arrest. Now people are questioning that fact that If these two defendants committed the same alleged crime, why weren't the arrests handled the exact same way?

A couple more people walked up to the podium to express their feelings of the arrest of Bolden and the lack of excessive force during the arrest of Cullen. One citizen stated that he understands that the council members work for the mayor and one of his main concerns is not to address the actions that were seen on the video.

He went on to say that the city council members know that what was displayed on the footage was dishonorable and he demands that they look into the case so these officers will be held accountable for their actions like other officers in cities that are similar to Erie, PA. The next Erie City Council Meeting is scheduled for September 7, 2016.