Investigation Clears Statehouse Security Of Bias In State Lawmaker Search

Aug 6, 2018

An internal review of Ohio Statehouse security found no unprofessional conduct or bias during interactions with an African-American state lawmaker who was trying to enter the building. But she says the report glosses over the bigger issue.

Democratic state Rep. Emilia Sykes believes she was treated unfairly when she tried to enter the Statehouse and her state office building because she’s black and a woman.

An investigation by the Ohio State Highway Patrol says Sykes was searched and screened because her badge was inactive, which was something that was done to every other lawmaker in a similar situation.

But as Sykes contends, there was still an innate bias that singled her out.

“That does not make any of the troopers bad people," she said. "It makes them a human, and knowing that you have to do things to correct it.”

Sykes wants Statehouse security officials to recognize that bias and alter training accordingly.

In a letter to Sykes, the Ohio State Highway Patrol invites her to observe their security operations and offer recommendations.