Police Practices

U.S. Department of Justice to Probe Cleveland Police Department

03.15.13

Less than a decade after concluding their last Cleveland police probe, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced that they will return to the city to conduct a new investigation.

The ACLU of Ohio requested this federal investigation after a 2012 incident in which dozens of police cars participated in a three-city police chase. The chase ended with 13 officers firing 137 rounds and killing two unarmed suspects.

DOJ last investigated the Cleveland Police Department in 2000, responding to complaints that city police were routinely violating the constitutional rights of citizens. When this investigation finally closed in 2004, it had uncovered numerous problems and extracted a promise from the department to make changes. Sadly, by the end of the next year, five more police suspects had already died under questionable circumstances.

The problems have continued unabated into this decade. Viewed as a timeline, a sad pattern emerges: a spiral of policy violations, violence, and eventually blood in the streets.

This pattern must be addressed.

UPDATE – 05.26.2015: DOJ, Cleveland Reach Settlement on Police Reform