Police Abuse

Cleveland Police Settlement with DOJ to Include 'Exacting' Use of Force Rules, Like Offering Medical Assistance and Prohibiting Retaliatory Force

Lowered expectations.

|

screencap

Over the weekend, a judge found Office Michael Brelo, who jumped on the hood of a car to empty his clip into a windshield, not guilty on charges related to the death of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams in that shooting. In his decision, the judge ruled the state had not sufficiently proven Brelo's bullets were the ones that killed Russell and Williams.

That December 2012 shooting led the city government of Cleveland to request the Department of Justice (DOJ) examine its use of force policies and other police practices. This past December, the DOJ found "structural and systemic deficiencies and practices" that contributed to the use of unreasonable force by police. It was the second time in the last decade the DOJ had investigated the Cleveland Division of Police (CDP). In the early 2000s, the DOJ found problems with Cleveland's use of deadly force policies, but a series of reforms, including prohibiting cops from shooting at moving vehicles unless facing an imminent threat, expanded training, and a shooting review team satisfied the DOJ's concerns.

This time, the settlement between the DOJ and CPD includes reforms such as a community police commission, requiring the use of de-escalation techniques by cops, prohibiting retaliatory force, implementing "bias-free policing principles," creating a mental health response advisory committee, more training, more "equipment and resources", and a more diverse recruiting policy.

The New York Times describes the new use of force policies as "some of the most exacting standards in the nation." From the DOJ press release, those standards are:

requirements for the use of de-escalation techniques whenever possible and appropriate, a prohibition on retaliatory force, mandatory reporting and investigation standards following use of force, and medical care for the subjects of force.

These seem more like they should be the baseline for the use of force not the ceiling. Despite added layers of community involvement and purported oversight, the DOJ settlement does not appear to mention any reforms of the disciplinary process that would make it easier to fire bad cops before they get themselves put on trial.

NEXT: How to Tell When the Latest Drug Scare Story Is Just the Usual BS

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. These seem more like they should be the baseline for the use of force not the ceiling.

    No one trained them to not escalate every encounter. Maybe in two or three years when the DoJ has to visit Cleveland again for deficiencies will the reforms take.

  2. Police supervisors will investigate the uses of force in much the same way that officers investigate crimes.

    *** facepalm ***

    1. So the supervisors are going to kill the pets of the cops they are investigating and then beat the shit out of them for resisting arrest?

      1. Tase, them…..always tase them first !

  3. I wonder when the Tamir Rice cop is going to be cleared of all charges. I’m very glad I won’t be there when it happens.

    1. No riots over this joke of a verdict, why would a dead 12 year old cause any?

      1. Because there’s video.

        1. That video ugh, they just roll right up next to the kid and then the cop shoots within a second of opening the door to get out of his car, and yet I still know people who defend the cops actions in that case. I just don’t understand the world anymore.

          It’s gotten to point that I actually hate cops, all cops, and I’ve never gotten so much as a speeding ticket from one.

          1. “I still know people who defend the cops actions in that case”

            I hate those folks as well.

        2. Still, seems like the riots are almost always for the least deserving and against the least deserving targets.

          Shitty situation all around as Baltimore and Fergusen shows. Almost funny how SC had a cut and dried murder, city did the right thing right away, and had no riots — cradle of the confederacy.

          1. That’s because the riots aren’t motivated by genuine outrage at the situation as much as the lumpenproletariat taking advantage of an opportunity to loot and cause mayhem.

            1. “an opportunity to loot and cause mayhem.”

              And get a little under the table cash !

              On May 14, protesters, upset with not being paid their promised checks for protesting, protested outside MORE, Missourians Organizing For Reform and Empowerment, an ACORN organization which had received funding through George Soros to fund the protests.

              https://goo.gl/iGzYrd

              You can’t make this shit up.

  4. empty his clip

    MAGAZINE

    1. I was wondering when someone would bring this up.

      Don’t be mean to Ed. He’s made it clear in his britishness that firearms simply aren’t Cricket so improper terminology will be a kind of linguistic protest against their acceptance.

      1. Or against their existence.

    2. For a clip named Reason

    3. Thank you. Anyone who empties a clip while firing a weapon will lose a finger. Unless they’re just dropping rounds onto the ground while they empty the *magazine*.

  5. requirements for the use of de-escalation techniques whenever possible and appropriate

    Something like this?

  6. WTF? Retaliatory force wasn’t already prohibited? I expect police forces to go through the motions and at least have those policies on the books (I certainly don’t expect that they’ll follow them though).

  7. Seems to me like failure to immediately call for medical help after injuring someone is pretty much per se gross negligence, if not reckless disregard.

    On the civil side, I guess its too hard to prove damages resulting from the delay. Although god knows hospitals and doctors pay damages every single day for delaying (the right) treatment.

    On the criminal side, it would sidestep the difficulties over whether the use of force was justified. But, successfully prosecuting cops doesn’t seem to be part of the DA job description, so I guess it doesn’t matter.

  8. I’ll believe this program has some actual teeth to it when they incorporate “A Trip to Warty’s Basement” as punishment for gunning down a 12 year old on a playground.

    1. Whoa, whoa, whoa. I’m for punishing these cops as much as anyone, but they still do have 8th amendment rights. And trips to Warty’s basement must be prohibited by multiple international laws.

      1. Even Hitler never violated that part of the Geneva Conventions.

    2. Seriously how is the cop that did that even still alive? How does a parent not just hunt the bastard down? It’s not they’re going to get justice any other way.

    3. Cue Hugh Akston comment about cruel and unusual punishments.

  9. Of course the ‘prosecutor’ here deliberately threw the case. No lesser included charge of attempted murder? He wasn’t even trying. And how about felony murder? And what do we end up with? Two people dead with the shooters a matter of public record and not one single person in prison for it.

    1. Two people dead with no legal justification, and with the shooters a matter of public record and not one single person in prison for it.

    2. “Of course the ‘prosecutor’ here deliberately threw the case. No lesser included charge of attempted murder?”

      THIS!

      The prosecutor f’d the case, maybe on purpose. Cases against cops should be prosecuted by prosecutors from a different jurisdiction and should have the assistance of LEO crime specialists to get the charges right.

  10. That seems to be the police unions’ general position: no standards, no dismissals. When you take positions like that – you’ve seen the results: a policeman who jumps onto the hood of a car and empties his weapon into the front windshield. That’s a great deescalation technique, because after you’ve done that, your antagonist is dead.

    1. I remember Harvey Keitel emptying his weapon in “Bad Lieutenant” a couple times.

  11. Another attempt by Top.Men to create synthetically what exists naturally except for the distortion previous Top.Men have created.

    There does exist a very simple and very real way to correct bad police behavior: get rid of qualified immunity. You can bet your booty that if cops were individually held accountable as the common criminals they are, they would shape up so fast it would make your head spin. True free markets whip things into shape tremendously quickly.

    But because that would require acknowledging that previous top-down fixes by previous Top.Men had failed, they will instead apply a new bandaid over the old one.

  12. Where are the “if it were my kid…” type of people when you need them?

  13. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ?????? http://www.www.netjob80.com

  14. my buddy’s step-mother makes $81 /hour on the laptop . She has been fired for six months but last month her pay check was $17378 just working on the laptop for a few hours. see here now .

    pop over to this web-site http://www.Times-Report.com

  15. Nathaniel . although Stephanie `s rep0rt is super… I just bought a top of the range Mercedes sincee geting a check for $4416 this last four weeks and would you believe, ten/k last-month . no-doubt about it, this really is the best-job I’ve ever done . I actually started seven months/ago and almost straight away started making a nice over $79.. p/h….. ?????? http://www.netcash9.com

  16. Baltimore is a shining example of what happens when the police and not the criminals become the focus of “justice”. Baltimore has seen 42 murders in a month because the media and activists decided to put the police on trial for an arrest that still has more questions than answers. The prevailing view, supported by the current administration, is that all police are racists and young men in the black community are helpless victims. There are problems with the current laws and they do tend to result in black men being incarcerated at a higher rate, but that is the fault of lawmakers, not police. Activists scream about profiling, but when 12% of the population commits over 60% of the violent crime is it not logical that group is who police would be focused on? When a group of people are told daily they are all helpless victims incapable of changing their lives because of institutional racism and anything they do, especially criminal acts is justified, why are we surprised when they commit crimes?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.