Cleveland, US Justice Department announce police settlement

Updated: 2015-05-27 10:16


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Cleveland, US Justice Department announce police settlement

Renee Robinson (R) and Alfredo Williams, cousins of Malissa Williams, stand outside the Justice Center following the not guilty verdict for Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo on manslaughter charges in Cleveland, Ohio, May 23, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

CLEVELAND - Cleveland agreed to overhaul its police department under the supervision of a federal monitor in a settlement announced Tuesday with the US Department of Justice over a pattern of excessive force and other abuses by officers.

The announcement comes three days after a white patrolman was acquitted of voluntary manslaughter charges in the shooting deaths of two unarmed black suspects in a 137-shot barrage of police gunfire following a high-speed chase. The case helped prompt an 18-month investigation by the Justice Department.

In a report released in December, the department required the city to work with community leaders and other officials to devise a plan to reform the police department. A judge must approve the plan, and an independent monitor will oversee it.

The settlement calls for new use-of-force guidelines, a focus on community engagement, accountability reforms, training on bias-free policing and a mental health advisory committee.

The worst examples of excessive force in the Justice Department report involved patrol officers who endangered lives by shooting at suspects and cars, hit people over the head with guns and used stun guns on handcuffed suspects.

The agency said supervisors encouraged some of the bad behavior and often did little to investigate it. The department found that only six officers had been suspended for improper use of force over a three-year period.

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