MANSFIELD -- A public meeting planned for Monday to discuss social justice issues has been moved to the Ocie Hill Neighborhood Center, 445 Bowman St.
Alomar Davenport, the only candidate on the Nov. 5 ballot to represent Mansfield City Council's 4th Ward, called for the meeting after his recent car stop by Mansfield police, which included two officers pulling their guns.
The 42-year-old Davenport, who was cited on Aug. 15 for an improper right hand turn and for driving on a suspended license, said last week he hoped to create a public discussion that could prevent future tragedies.
Davenport, who has a bench trial on the charges scheduled in Mansfield Municipal Court on Oct. 8, declined to discuss the case. "I can't really speak on it," he said.
Richland Source learned Friday that there is an active bench warrant for Davenport's arrest, issued June 21 by the Franklin County Municipal Court. It was issued after he allegedly failed to appear or pay fines from being ticketed on May 11 by police for an alleged U-turn and unsafe lane change on North High Street.
Davenport was due in court in Columbus on May 14 and the failure to appear was added on May 22, the same day the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicle records show his license was suspended.
Ohio BMV records show his license has been suspended previously for failing to pay traffic fines in other states. His BMV record shows convictions in Ohio and elsewhere for speeding, equipment violations, failure to obey traffic signs, driving without a license, reckless driving, defective lights and improper turns.
The meeting had been scheduled for the North End Community Improvement Collaborative, 134 N Main St. But Davenport posted on social media Sunday the location had changed to Ocie Hill.
Davenport had said the focus of the meeting, scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m., will not be on the car stop.
On Sunday, on his Facebook page, Davenport posted:
"Family, friends, neighbors, and those with questions, concerns, and insight I invite you to join us for a discussion about breaking barriers between the police and community. The conversations about this issue over the last few days have emphasised the need for this meeting. The last few days have showed there is very little understanding and very little empathy. Those are two key ingredients when creating a recipe for social justice solutions. Tomorrow will be the first step of many needed steps in creating said solution. This issue within our community is real, yet rarely ever spoken about in a public forum. So every father, mother, son, daughter, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, and cousin kindly join us, 5:30 pm at Ocie Hill."
On Saturday, Davenport posted on Facebook that his cousin was shot and killed by a Columbus police officer in 2006. He posted:
"There have been a lot of questions about my motivation for calling this meeting. August 30th 2006, in Columbus Ohio, at the age of 20 my cousin, was shot and killed by a police officer who THOUGHT he had a gun. No gun was ever found but on that day my uncle lost a son, my grandmother lost a grandson, my mother lost a nephew, and I lost a first cousin. All because of perception. The wrong perception can cause a negative reality. THIS IS REAL TO ME. When you hear me say this is about protecting that 20 year old who may react differently, my cousin is who I referring to. But he is gone. We have the opportunity here to the save next 20 year old who is thought to have a gun. Give him the chance to go home to his family. By opening a dialogue between both sides. That little boy in this picture is who I am trying to protect as he must grow up in this world where an INK PEN can be mistaken for a gun. I said who I am to relax the officer, I was not looking for favor. I simply felt a heighten vibe from him and was trying to calm him down. We are human, and the same way a lot of you are jumping to conclusions is the reason my cousin was killed in this same situation. We do not take the time to assess the facts, we just rush to judgement and act. I believe this happen to me for a reason, nearly 13 years to the day I lost my cousin. Those who question my motivates have no clue who I am. But I invite you to come find out."
Davenport said he had hoped Mansfield police would participate in the meeting. But the city law director's office said police cannot take part in such meetings while the case is pending in court.
"I want to emphasize this is not a Mansfield Police Department decision (not to attend). The Mansfield Police Department and Chief (Keith) Porch are on board with what we're trying to do," Davenport said. "They want to be involved with what we are trying to do. But because it's an ongoing case, it has come down from the law director they cannot be involved," Davenport said.
In a statement, Porch said police intend to have a dialogue with Davenport and others in the community once the case concludes.
"We fully support Mr. Davenport's open dialogue with community members regarding this incident ... but the Mansfield Police Department will not be involved until his case is resolved," Porch said.