TOLEDO, Ohio — After a video showing Toledo police officers forcefully arresting and restraining two African American siblings sparked questions from the community, their mother is speaking out about diversity in the police department.
Dauleita Wyley claims a community disconnect among officers and a lack of diversity on the force may have fueled the situation.
"Are we at where we should be with diversity? Absolutely not – and I've said that publicly hundreds of times. That's why we do such a hard job at recruiting," Toledo Police Chief George Kral said.
"I see them (police officers) harass people all the time, up and down this street," Wyley said.
The street, Lagrange in north Toledo, is in the area Wyley and her two kids have lived in for 13 years.
"They not protecting us, they are policing us there is a big difference. Don't police us, protect us," Wyley said.
Wyley lives a few blocks away from Lagrange Street and Manhattan Boulevard, where her twins Jannah and Jabril were arrested last Friday following a traffic stop.
Police claim the 21-year-olds resisted arrested and that Jannah Wyley assaulted a police officer.
"When I went there, there was nothing but white officers. Why cant it be some who looks like me, at least say something to me?" Wyley said.
WTOL looked into the mother's claim and found numbers to support it.
In a police force made up of more than 600-plus sworn officers, which includes 132 command officers, less than 20 minorities hold top command positions.
Among the highest-ranked, only two lieutenants are minorities.
Those are numbers the chief has been working to change since taking office in order to diversify his department.
When asked if minorities are being overlooked for these top positions, the chief answered he can't force anyone to take a promotional test.
"I recruit people to take a promotional test. I can lead a horse to water, but I can't make anybody to drink from it," he said.
WTOL asked Kral if this was a reflection of his leadership.
"Really? You want to go there now? Really, my leadership?" he said. "Of course I am (encouraging minorities) and I take offense to that because it is my job to diversify this department not just at the recruit level, not just in field operations but every specialty job we have here."
Kral claims despite efforts to encourage current officers to apply for high ranks, many simply choose not to for various reasons. A reason he continues to push for more diverse recruit classes, bridging the gap with communities.
"We are working hard to increase that and every little bit helps", Kral said.
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