The crowd in city hall cheered when the final votes were tallied.
In an 11-8 vote, the Louisville Metro Council approved the appointment of Ricky Jones to the city’s Citizen Commission on Police Accountability Board. His nomination to the board was embroiled in controversy after a protest from the head of the city’s police union.
Dave Mutchler, head of the River City Fraternal Order of Police, had voiced concern to a council committee earlier in the year that Jones is biased against police and unfit for the commission.
The Citizens Commission on Police Accountability was formed in 2003 and is tasked with reviewing closed police investigations in all police shooting cases and incidents involving loss of life due to police action.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer recommended Jones for appointment to the board. After the vote, his spokeswoman, Jean Porter, said the mayor “believes [Jones] will bring an important perspective to the Commission’s work.”
“We appreciate the Council being supportive of his nomination as we work to increase diversity of experience and perspectives on all our boards and commission,” Porter said in an emailed statement.
Jones is a professor and chair of the University of Louisville’s Pan-African Studies department. After his appointment was approved during Thursday night’s regular council meeting, he expressed appreciation for legislators and residents who filled the chambers — many in his support.
“Some folks want to make this a racial issue — it’s not, it’s a justice issue,” he said.
Jones said he’s not a critic of police, in general, but of bad actors. He said “bad police” need to be pushed out of the community.
“Good police, I embrace them, good police, I love them,” Jones said. “I think they do incredibly dangerous jobs, I think they’re underpaid, I don’t think they’re appreciated enough.”
The vote was largely along party lines, with most Republicans voting against Jones’ approval. Brent Ackerson, a Democrat, also voted against the appointment.
Mutchler, after the vote, said he wasn’t surprised and chalked up council support to a fear of being labeled racist.
“Another day at the clown show,” he said.