Cleveland City Council approved its three nominees — and Mayor Justin Bibb’s 10 nominees — to the Community Police Commission on Monday night.

The nominees completed individual interviews with the Mayor’s Appointments Committee at the end of last week.

The creation of the Community Police Commission, which will now have the final say on police discipline cases, marks a significant change in how police in Cleveland are disciplined. The previous commission made non-binding recommendations to the police chief and the public safety director, who had the final say in police discipline. 

Below is a list of the commission members and their backgrounds.

Mayor Justin Bibb’s nominees: 

  • James M. Chura served as a Cleveland police officer for 33 years, starting as a patrol officer and working his way up to a commander. 
  • Charles Donaldson Jr. works for Sherwin-Williams and has experience in human resources. A 10-year Cleveland resident, he served in the U.S. Coast Guard for five years. 
  • Pastor Kyle Earley is a community activist and senior pastor at City of God Church on the East Side of Cleveland. He’s a member of the Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland and the Cleveland NAACP. 
  • Alana Garrett-Ferguson, the youngest nominee at 30 years old, is a policy associate at the Center for Community Solutions. She is a member of the Cleveland NAACP and Board of the Abortion Fund of Ohio and previously served on the Community & Problem-Oriented Policing Committee. 
  • Cait Kennedy is executive director and co-founder of unBail, an app that provides legal information to help people navigate the criminal justice system. A lifelong Clevelander, she’s a visiting assistant professor of Sociology & Politics and Global Citizenship at Baldwin Wallace University. 
  • Piet van Lier is a senior researcher at Policy Matters Ohio whose research focuses on civil rights and criminal justice reform. He is an advocate for alternative crisis-response methods. 
  • Gregory Reaves is a career coach for Towards Employment, an organization that prepares people to find jobs. As a person who was previously incarcerated, he is an advocate for people with criminal backgrounds. 
  • Jan Ridgeway is the Board President and Volunteer Director of Garden Valley Neighborhood House and a retired librarian from the Cleveland Public Library. She is a community activist and organizer. 
  • Teri Wang is a writer and academic consultant. Born in Shanghai, China, Teri advocates for immigrants, people experiencing homelessness and other marginalized communities.
  • Sharena Zayed works with University Settlement, a nonprofit organization that provides services for youth, seniors and families in Slavic Village. Zayed’s 15-year-old son was fatally shot in March 2020, leading her to become an advocate for families who have lost a loved one to gun violence. 

Cleveland City Council nominees: 

  • Dr. John Adams is the 9th-grade leader for the Cleveland School of Science and Medicine. He is a member of the Ohio Council of Social Studies and other groups.
  • Shandra Benito, a licensed social worker, is director of diversity and inclusion for the Nord Center, an organization that works with people experiencing mental-health crises and with survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. 
  • Audrianna Rodriguez works as a family advocate at The Centers for Children and Families, which provides behavioral health, early childhood education and other services. She’s a member of the Cleveland NAACP and the Cleveland Chapter of the National Congress of Black Women. 

Cleveland Documenters 
will be live-tweeting the final Cleveland City Council meeting of 2022 and taking notes.

In person: 

7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 5

City Hall, Cleveland City Council Chambers

601 Lakeside Ave E, Cleveland, OH 44114

You can watch the meeting’s live stream on the Cleveland City Council’s YouTube Channel

This post was updated to clarify that Cleveland City Council approved its three nominees to the Community Police Commission in addition to approving the mayor’s nominees.

Criminal Justice Reporter (she/her)
Stephanie, who covered criminal justice and breaking news at the Chicago Tribune, is a bilingual journalist with a passion for storytelling that is inclusive and reflects the diversity of the communities she covers. She has been a reporter and copy editor for local newspapers in South Dakota, Kansas and Arizona. Stephanie is also a Maynard 200 alumni, a Maynard Institute for Journalism Education training program for journalists of color that focuses on making newsrooms more equitable, diverse and anti-racist.