“Willie Lynch” Kelly violates civil rights voting laws to suppress Cleveland’s majority American Negro vote


Cleveland resident and activist Kareem Abdul Nafi invited about 80 of his activist supporters to the city’s council meeting where they networked the room to gauge support for a public comment portion on its regular meeting agenda.

Irish Catholic Cleveland city council president Kevin Kelly operates the municipal legislative body like a southern plantation owner who mastered the notorious Willie Lynch theories made widely-known by Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan during the 1995 Million Man March to Washington, D.C.   

A close examination of Kelley’s political acts in comparison to Lynch’s theories of controlling “African slaves” who were a majority on the plantations reek of efforts to suppress the city’s majority American Negro voting base and political influence.  Voter suppression is one of the reasons Cleveland activist Kareem Abdul Nafi, a local Black Lives Matter founder, wants a public comment section during council meetings.

Council president Kevin Kelley casually and criminally obstructed the city of Cleveland’s official business when he exercised authority over the clerk of council with instructions not to accept petitions signed by 22,000 majority American Negro voters in a majority American Negro city; and he did so in full view of a U.S. major,Terrell Pruitt, two American Negro attorneys, Jeffrey Johnson and Phyllis Cleveland; and a former law enforcement officer, Zack Reed.

Nafi called Kelley a liar who falsely claimed when he sought the job that he was going to end ex-council president Martin Sweeney’s charter and general law violating tactic of pushing all legislation as an emergency. 

Kelley has raised the practice to a new illegal level by falsely identifying legislation requests on official documents as an emergency that has not been requested that way by city department heads. 

Emergency legislation takes effect immediately and denies Cleveland voters the opportunity to deliver council referendum petitions within 30 days that would give the city’s majority American Negro voting base and not council the final word on it.  Kelley has even introduced alleged “emergency” legislation at council meetings that has never been seen by other council members and orchestrated a vote to pass it. 

Kelley carries out his legislation-rigging and vote suppressing schemes all in plain view of city lawyers who under Ohio law have duties to ensure that all public duties are being performed and not evaded by obstruction-minded officials like Kelley.

Nafi and other critics of Kelley and council in general see them as criminally shutting the public, particularly the majority American Negro population, out of discussions about legislation, legislative priorities and how municipal tax dollars are being spent.  He said Cleveland’s majority American Negro resident population and voters are the only ones in the state who can’t elect a school board to spend the $1 billion annually that’s being misspent instead of used to educate their 36,000 children.

Nafi is concerned that council and the city’s departments as a whole under Mayor Frank Jackson’s administration are criminally non-responsive to requests for public information as just one of many corrupt practices they’re using to keep the city’s voters intentionally uninformed.

Jackson, as an example, controls the city’s public access channel and high-end television broadcast production equipment.  Wiring council’s chamber with cameras to give Cleveland residents access to the legislative body’s meetings would be a simple, permanent and inexpensive feat to accomplish. 

The same type of cameras that record and broadcast council’s committee meetings could record and broadcast council’s regular and special meetings.  Nafi sees Jackson as thoughtless for not using equipment paid with resident tax dollars to empower them with television access to public meetings about their government.

Mayor Frank Jackson’s Irish Catholic prosecuting attorney and director of law, Barbara Langhenry, refuses to prosecute American Negro citizen complaints against white public employees and officials. Langhenry and other Ohio prosecutors continue to enforce Ohio’s “American Negro code” as an unspoken policy that existed as a state general law from 1804 to 1885. During those years and after American Negro Ohio residents could not testify against white Ohioans or file civil and criminal claims in court against them. Author Russell Davis wrote “The History of the Negro in Cleveland” and observed how prosecutors rejected murder testimony against a white man because the only witness was American Negro.

Nafi says council never conducts public hearings on critical issues of concerns to the city’s residents.  High speed police chases.  Constitutionally non-compliant policing.  Excessive water bill payments.  Failing schools.  Corrupted city departments.  Illegal impounding of vehicles by Clerk of Court Earl Turner for automated camera citations.  Health department failure to test and prosecute illegal dumps or to test the sewer district’s mining operation for combustible gas in the neighborhoods.  Block grant dollars misdirected from poor neighborhoods.

Discussions around the topics above would seem to dominate the thinking of a majority American Negro city’s political leadership because they’re the issues and complaints coming from “the streets.”  Not only are residents of the city shut out of council meetings to discuss the topics that most affect them; council members hold unofficial ward meetings that serve no real governmental purpose and refuse to discuss them.  The city’s mayor, Jackson, even charges $75 to hear his “state of the city” address that’s attended by city workers, vendors and few residents.

Ex-Cleveland councilman Jeffrey Johnson was the subject of a lawsuit against the city for snatching a microphone out of a mans hand during a public ward meeting.

When angry residents vent their frustrations to their council member during ward meetings police are called.  Councilmen like Ward 7’s Basheer Jones, and former councilman Jeffrey Johnson, were and are known for using police to silence critics. 

Johnson was the defendant in a complaint Don Bryant filed against him in 2013 for snatching a microphone out of his hand and breaking it when he wanted to address safety director Michael McGrath. 

Bryant wanted to comment about 100 Cleveland cops invading East Cleveland and 13 of them firing 147 bullets at unarmed Timothy Russell and his passenger, Malissa Williams.  Johnson was among a group of council members who told residents they could only ask questions and not make comments at “their” ward club meetings. 

Jones this year called police on over 200 American Negro men, women and children who’d peacefully assembled at the African American history museum because he saw the agency’s director as a political enemy for supporting the councilman he’d beaten by 13 votes.

Nafi believes opening council’s official meeting to public comment from residents of the city on legislation before they vote, and on general issues of resident concern after the vote, will change council’s legislative direction. 

Council president Kevin Kelley guided deputy clerk Alan Dreyer to obstruct a referendum petition committee by refusing to accept their petitions.

Council, as an example, hasn’t upgraded its civil rights ordinance since George Forbes became the first American Negro to hold the job in 1974.  A civil rights-minded council could have easily enacted an ordinance to accept and prosecute citizen complaints of police or public employee and official abuse and criminal acts. 

Nafi observes that Kelley’s leadership has resulted in a council that doesn’t discuss known acts of theft committed by ex-councilman Joseph Cimperman to see if other local legislators are conspiring with city workers to misdirect block grant funds from HUD’s intended census tracts.

Kelley was the focus of a criminal complaint filed with the Cleveland municipal court that detailed the acts he took to prevent 22,000 majority American Negro voters from voting on rigged emergency legislation he’d orchestrated to give $88 million in public funds to renovate Quicken Loans Arena for Dan Gilbert’s Cavaliers.  The Supreme Court of Ohio confirmed that Kelley exceeded the limited authority of the council president when he criminally obstructed the clerk of council from accepting petitions signed by the city’s majority American Negro voters.  Despite knowledge from the state’s supreme court that Kelley and Dreyer criminally obstructed the city’s official business, Langhenry didn’t prosecute him and council didn’t discuss it.

Ironically one of the American Negro councilmen who stood behind Kelley and said nothing while he obstructed American Negro voting rights is a military officer who carries the rank of major.  Terrell Pruitt was rejected for re-election by Cleveland’s Ward 1 voters.

Councilman Kevin Conwell is one of the members who agree with Nafi’s demand for public comments.   He remarked that council’s seating is set up so that the backs of members are turned to the public.  Conwell called council’s attitude “disrespectful.”

Nafi intends to continue his push to open council’s meetings.  If Conwell and others are serious Nafi said they only need to amend their own rules and add a charter change for voters to make the final decision permanent.


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.