CLEVELAND—The ACLU of Ohio has released recommendations to the City of Cleveland for police oversight and investigation of officer misconduct. The city plans to release new draft policies soon, pursuant to a settlement entered into by the Department of Justice and the City of Cleveland after the DOJ found “structural and systemic deficiencies and practices” in the Cleveland police department
Among its recommendations, the ACLU calls for deadlines for resolving complaints against officers; clear communication to complainants and the public; stricter investigations of police shootings, in-custody injury or death, and use of deadly force; and comprehensive data collection.
“The investigations policy is critical to ensure a high standard of policing, and repercussions for those officers who do not comply,” said ACLU of Ohio Senior Policy Director Mike Brickner. “Our recommendations—which emphasize strong external oversight—are crucial to fair, accountable policing.”
The Department of Justice’s 2014 investigation of the Cleveland police uncovered “systemic failures” in both the internal and external oversight structures. Cleveland’s internal investigators were using standards so unreasonable that very few officers were ever found guilty after being investigated. The DOJ also found a “troubling pattern” in external investigations, where the Office of Professional Standards commonly ignored complaints it should have investigated.
“Strong police oversight has the potential to initiate meaningful reform, but without it, this irresponsible conduct will continue to run rampant,” said Brickner. “Our recommendations would create much more transparency and accountability in police investigations.”
The ACLU of Ohio also released a new website, ClevelandConsentDecree.org, which will serve as an information hub about the consent decree to further encourage community participation.
See the ACLU of Ohio’s new website on the consent decree: ClevelandConsentDecree.org