Police Practices

Racially Biased Policing and Excessive Use of Force in Cleveland


The Cleveland Police Department has recently been criticized for several officers’ prolific use of non-deadly force and for failing to review incident reports fully. This criticism after two officers were charged with assault for beating a man during an arrest.

In addition, the ACLU of Ohio is concerned the Cleveland Police Department may employ some racially biases policing methods. A June 2011 report, “Overcharging, Overspending, Overlooking: Cuyahoga County’s Costly War on Drugs“, describes the targeting of African American communities for patrols and sweeps, resulting in disproportionate rates of arrest and incarceration for people of color.

The ACLU of Ohio also represented two Clevelanders who were victims of racially biased policing in July 2010 in City of Cleveland v. Alvin Williams and City of Cleveland v. Chanel Christian. As a result of the incident, the Mayor agreed to permit federal mediators to provide training to business owners and police to avoid any similar incidents.

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