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Government & Politics

Sykes Files Civil Rights Commission Complaint Over Treatment by Statehouse Security

Photo of Emilia Sykes
State Rep. Emilia Sykes of Akron says she's hoping not for a dialogue with security officials.

An Akron-area state representative has filed a complaint with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission over how security has treated her at the Statehouse.

State Rep. Emilia Sykes says she’s been stopped and/or searched by security more often than her colleagues, and that her complaints to officials have not led to any action to fix the situation. Sykes also says she has not gotten acknowledgement that a problem might exist in how security interacts with black women like herself. She’s hoping the complaint she's filed leads to mediation with the agencies involved and says they need to recognize that bias can factor into the way security procedures are implemented.

"There is, of course, bias training," says Sykes. "There is implicit bias training that many law enforcement officers have done in departments across the country. And had to come to terms with this is something they should do. That would be one suggestion."

Sykes adds that another suggestion might be to evaluate whether fewer security checkpoints are needed and could possibly be replaced by electronic, keycard-operated turnstiles.