Barge & PARC: I'm cautiously optimistic. Here's why the haters are wrong.

I’m not particularly sold on Matthew Barge and his company as the Monitor for the Cleveland consent decree on police use of force but here are a few things about the process.

This selection is being done in the first place because it’s a requirement of the consent decree. It’s not like Cleveland went ahead and outsourced compliance because they thought it would be fun. While this isn’t specifically stated in the Cleveland Scene article, but it’s important: the City doesn’t get to pick any Monitor it wants. It’s a joint decision with the US Department of Justice. DoJ won’t let the City pick a softball Monitor. Furthermore, if the City and DoJ couldn’t agree on a Monitor selection, the choice would have fallen to Judge Oliver.

Elementary negotiation: this strengthens the DoJ’s hand.

Don’t complain about the cost. If it takes five million dollars to solve the problem of cop violence, then it does. It requires lawyers, investigators, statisticians, writers, analysts, security experts… people whose skills cost money.

In a similar vein, of course this has to be outsourced. Everyone knows the City of Cleveland administration is corrupt and otherwise very poorly managed. And we don’t want this oversight done by people who work directly or indirectly for Mayor Jackson; that’s ridiculous. We do want it done by people who are responsible to Judge Oliver.

Finally, yes we do want an out-of-town company to do this work. The farther removed they are from personalities and politics, the less likely they are to have friends and family members and even enemies with a personal stake in this, the better their chances of doing a solid job instead of avoiding offending anyone.

Look, either Judge Oliver and the DoJ are being real about this or they’re not. If they’re not real, then never mind the details and never mind who the Monitor is–this is just a farce all the way through. So we logically have to presume they are real. The alternative is literally to give up.

If the judge and the DoJ are real, then DoJ tried to pick a responsible Monitor and Judge Oliver will fire them if they suck.

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