Akron cop’s “Farrakhan offed” Facebook post raises questions

AKRON, OH – James Anthony has a right as an American citizen to his personal and racial biases and political views, and the public has a right to evaluate them to determine his fitness for the job he holds as a member of the Akron police department.  Last week Anthony posted a comment on his Facebook page and shared a deadly thought about Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan.  Anthony wanted to know why he hadn’t been “offed.”

EJBNEWS was provided a copy of James Anthony’s Facebook post about National of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan as shown on WKYC-TV3. The idea that a media outlet would censor the cop’s face, name and offensive words he used from its viewers should cause distrust among them that not all news is being reported about the misconduct of government officials openly, honestly and fairly.

It’s doubtful that Anthony knows anything about Farrakhan other than how he’s been portrayed in the “white” media.  His thoughts reflect a deadly disdain for an African American man whose life has been dedicated to economically and socially empowering and uplifting Americans who are Descendants of Slaves; and calling out government officials for selectively and violently enforcing laws against them.    

Not knowing anything about Farrkahan, or the Nation of Islam he leads that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad founded, would cause Anthony not to understand that by speaking words of violence against a peaceful man and non-violent organization, he exposes his own biases against Akron residents who believe cops like him epitomize the Muslim leader’s words of admonishment.  Anthony is known on Akron streets by black and poor white residents to be abusive, violent and “dirty.” 

Akron cop James Anthony’s supervisor is Nancy Vought. If she’s not enforcing laws that restrict public employees from bringing their personal political views to work, as shown by Anthony’s desk pictures, is her name on a police incident report an indication in some cases that she might help conceal her subordinate’s violation of a citizen’s civil rights?

Anthony also can’t point to a single act as a law enforcement officer that would cause him to believe Farrakhan had committed a death penalty offense.  So in his own social media words, Anthony suggests that a black man should be “offed” just because he offends him.  That’s a deadly mindset for a law enforcement officer in a city where the largest ethnic demographic by far consists of members of Farrakhan’s ethnic group.  Out of 197,000 residents approximately 90,000 Akron residents are African American.  German, Irish, Italian, English, French, Hungarian, Polish and other ethnic immigrant descendants are Akron’s “minorities.” 

Anthony’s thought processes, and apparent disregard for laws, are also reflected at the desk he moved away from the black police officer who works with him as a detective.  Mayor Dan Horrigan should learn why Chief of Police Ken Ball, who once worked with a crew nicknamed the “Aryan shift”, allowed it. Horrigan should know the racism ex-chief James Nice exhibited is systemic in the pattern and practice of the way the city’s laws are being enforced against black citizens in “certain neighborhoods.”

WKYC news used black reporter Ray Strickland to tell the story about the Akron cop’s deadly suggestion regarding Minister Louis Farrakhan but wouldn’t let him use his name because he hadn’t been charged with a crime. EJBNEWS isn’t WKYC.

It isn’t just Anthony’s views on Farrkahan that may affect his official conduct.  At the taxpayer-paid desk Anthony was stationed by the chief of police to perform the duties of a police officer are pictures of former FBI director James Comey and ex-FBI special agent Peter Strozk.

Across Comey’s picture is the word “Fire” and “terminated” across Strozk’s.  The irony of Anthony’s apparent support of President Donald Trump’s decision to fire the two law enforcement officers is that the precedent Trump set applies to him.  Each FBI agent was terminated by Trump for his perception of their “personal” views “on the job.”

Behind Strozk’s picture is what appears to be “partisan” political literature connected to the candidacy of Summit County Prosecuting Attorney Sherry Bevan Walsh on public property.   

Pictures of the two FBI agents President Donald Trump fired are on the desk of Akron cop James Anthony along with what appears to be the political literature of Summit County Prosecutor Sherry Bevan.

The Akron police department receives federal grant funds from the U.S. Department of Justice that comes attached to federal laws like the Hatch Act.  That federal law makes it unlawful for public employees fully-paid with, in part with or equipped with federal funds to campaign for a “partisan” candidate for elected office.  Depending upon how widespread police supervisors have allowed cops to express their partisan political views in public buildings their acts could lose the city federal funding.

Anthony was administered an oath of office by the city’s mayor to perform the duties of police officer found in Section 737.11 of Ohio’s revised code.

“The police force of a municipal corporation shall preserve the peace, protect persons and property, and obey and enforce all ordinances of the legislative authority of the municipal corporation, all criminal laws of the state and the United States …” 

The laws Anthony is mandated to obey, first, and enforce, don’t have room for him to discriminate between citizens he “perceives” as violating them.   It’s a federal civil rights violation of 18 U.S.C. 241 and 242 if Anthony were to use the authority of a police officer to perform the duties identified in R.C. 737.11 discriminately and “target” certain citizens for law enforcement, or even uses of force, because of the personal biases exhibited in his Facebook posts.

While Akron’s police leadership are conducting a go nowhere investigation of his Facebook posts to see if they violate a policy, which they don’t.  What should be investigated are Anthony’s arrests and evidence of criminal misconduct and bias that has come from suppression hearings connected to them.

Eric Jonathan Brewer

Cleveland's most influential journalist and East Cleveland's most successful mayor is an East Saint Louis, Illinois native whose father led the city's petition drive in 1969 to elect the first black mayor in 1971. Eric is an old-school investigative reporter whose 40-year body of editorial work has been demonstrably effective. No local journalist is feared or respected more.

Trained in newspaper publishing by the legendary Call & Post Publisher William Otis Walker in 1978 when it was the nation's 5th largest Black-owned publication, Eric has published and edited 13 local, regional and statewide publications across Ohio. Adding to his publishing and reporting resume is Eric's career in government. Eric served as the city's highest paid part-time Special Assistant to ex-Cleveland Mayor Michael R. White. He served as Chief of Staff to ex-East Cleveland Mayor Emmanuel Onunwor; and Chief of Communications to the late George James in his capacity as the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority's first Black executive director. Eric was appointed to serve as a member of the state's Financial Planning & Supervision Commission to guide the East Cleveland school district out of fiscal emergency and $20 million deficit. Former U.S. HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson told Eric in his D.C. office he was the only mayor in the nation simultaneously-managing a municipal block grant program. Eric wrote the city's $2.2 million Neighborhood Stabilization Program grant application. A HUD Inspector General audit of his management of the block grant program resulted in "zero" audit findings.

As a newspaper publisher, Eric has used his insider's detailed knowledge of government and his publications to lead the FBI and state prosecutors to investigations that resulted in criminal prosecutions of well-known elected officials in Ohio; and have helped realign Cleveland's political landscape with the defeat of candidates and issues he's exposed. Eric's stories led to the indictments of the late Governor George Voinovich's brother, Paul Voinovich of the V Group, and four associates. He asked the FBI to investigate the mayor he'd served as chief of staff for public corruption; and testified in three federal trials for the prosecution. He forced former Cuyahoga County Coroner Dr. Elizabeth Balraj to admit her investigations of police killings were fraudulent; and to issue notices to local police that her investigators would control police killing investigations. Eric's current work has resulted in Cuyahoga County Judge John Russo accepting the criminal complaint he guided an activist to file against 24 civil rights-violating police officers in the city he once led for operating without valid peace officer credentials. USA Today reporters picked up on Eric's police credentials reporting from his social media page and made it national.

Eric is the author of of his first book, "Fight Police License Plate Spying," which examines the FBI and local police misuse of the National Crime Information Center criminal records history database. An accomplished trumpet player and singer whose friendship with Duke Fakir of the Four Tops resulted in his singing the show's closing song, "Can't Help Myself": Curtis Sliwa of New York's Guardian Angels counts Eric among his founding chapter leaders from the early 1980's role as an Ohio organizer of over 300 volunteer crime fighters in Cleveland, Columbus and Youngstown, Ohio. For his work as a young man Eric was recognized by Cleveland's Urban League as it's 1983 Young Man of the Year.

Known in Cleveland for his encyclopedic knowledge of government and history, and intimately-connected with the region's players, every local major media outlet in Cleveland has picked up on one of Eric's stories since 1979. There is no mainstream newspaper, television or radio outlet in Cleveland that does not include an interview with Eric Jonathan Brewer in its archives over the past 40 years.