Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Consent Decree Agreement entered into by City of Cleveland and Department of Justice regarding Cleveland Division of Police

The City of Cleveland entered into a Consent Decree Agreement today with the Department of Justice (DOJ).  The agreement was reached in an unprecendented short period of time, just under 6-months after the DOJ issued their Investigation of the Cleveland Division of Police on December 2, 2014.

Upon quick review, the agreement that has been announced appears to have drawn from some of the best practices from around the county.  Specifically there is concern expressed by many to ensure the following three critical areas are covered:

  1. Reform of the existing Civilian Review Board and Office of Professional Accountability (OPA) (IX. Accountability, pg 43-57).  There is a requirement to develop within 180-days a new operational manual for the OPA and for City Council to be involved in placing on the ballot a City Charter Amendment to form a new Police Review Board from which its members would appoint a Chair and Vice Chair;
  2. Creation of an Audit or Inspector General oversight component (X. Transparency and Oversight, pg 58-59); and,
  3. Major inclusion of a broad and representational group of citizens in the research, review and recommendations of policy and protocols - Community Police Commission, 13-member body to be established within the first 90-days. (III. Community Engagement and Building Trust, pg 4-7).

In addition to the three main issues above, another notable issues addressed includes a section on bias free policing - requiring that within 18-months CPD will develop a,"bias-free policing policy that incorporates, as appropriate, the recommendations developed by the Commission pursuant to paragraph 17, and that provides clear guidance to officers that biased policing, including deciding to detain a motorist or pedestrian based solely on racial stereotypes, is prohibited."

Other notable inclusions in the agreement is a lengthy section on use of force policies, guidelines and procedures (VI. Use of Force, pg 12-31).  Additionally, to deal with Police response to individuals or situations involving mental health issues a Mental Health Response Advisory Committee will be created within 180-days (VII. Crisis Intervention, pg 34-38).

There is a lot of information and timelines to review within the agreement.  The Cleveland Plain Dealer and Northeast Ohio Media Goup has already begun tackling sections of the agreement and a link to their work and a full copy of the Consent Decree is provided below (downloadable and searchable PDF document.

Some of the most immediate next steps will be that the City of Cleveland in collaboration with the DOJ will select a Monitor to oversee the implementation of the agreement.  An Request for Information was issued back in April and it is expected that more applicants will respond now that the agreement has been reached.

Here are a few reference links to examples of policing reform that Cleveland will be pursuing under the agreement:
Complete Video of today's annoucement and press briefing

Justice Department announces settlement with Cleveland police actions.  In a news conference on Tuesday, U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach of the Northern District of Ohio announced a settlement between the Justice Department and Cleveland that will see widespread police reform in the city. Published on May 26, 2015 (1:01:08)

The following is a complete copy of the 105-page agreement.  It can be downloaded and is a searchable PDF formatted document.

(please comment below and send suggested links to be added)

Justice Department Reaches Agreement with City of Cleveland to Reform Cleveland Division of Police Following the Finding of a Pattern or Practice of Excessive Force
Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs, Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Cleveland agrees to federal police reforms: How often does DOJ intervene?
By Henry Gass, Staff writer,The Christian Science Monitor, 5/26/2015

Mayor Frank Jackson, Justice Department agree to Cleveland police reforms
By Cory Shaffer, Northeast Ohio Media Group, May 26, 2015

DOJ consent decree: How long does the Cleveland police department have to implement changes?
By Patrick Cooley, Northeast Ohio Media Group, 5/26/2015

Cleveland will create citizen panel that will scrutinize city police reforms
By Andrew J. Tobias, Northeast Ohio Media Group, 5/26/2015

Cleveland police to improve early intervention program
By Ida Lieszkovszky, Northeast Ohio Media Group, 5/26/2015

Agreement between Cleveland, U.S. Justice Department to overhaul police response to mental health crises; By Brandon Blackwell, Northeast Ohio Media Group , 5/26/2015

A brief, clear explanation of why the Justice Department's police reforms may fall short
Updated by German Lopez on May 26, 2015

Cleveland's settlement with the Justice Department calls for major overhaul of police use-of-force policy; By Henry J. Gomez, Northeast Ohio Media Group, May 26, 2015

Note the following other stories being generated by the Plain Dealer and NEOMG regarding the agreement.  Cleveland-Consent-Decree (all articles)

Other Blog Posts on the issue:




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