Breaking: No more pistol-whipping: Cleveland settles with DoJ over policing complaints

Who can say whether of not RT’s title was meant as satire or not?  Surely not I.  But for the rest, they played it straight.

Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams (R) and Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson (Reuters / Aaron Josefczyk)

Officials in Cleveland, Ohio have reached a deal with the Department of Justice to settle complaints contained in a scathing federal review of the city’s police force released late last year.

Cleveland has signed a 105-page, comprehensive “consent decree” with the Department of Justice, agreeing to implement a series of programs improving its police practices.

The settlement agreement calls for numerous rewrites to the Cleveland Division of Police (CDP) rulebook on using force, including the ban on pistol-whipping (striking suspects with guns instead of batons) better policies on the use of Tasers and pepper spray, and a ban on neck holds as a method of subduing suspects.

“The Decree will only terminate after the City can demonstrate to a federal judge sustained and substantial compliance with its terms – and there are certain specific metrics set forth for that,” said US Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach, of the Northern District of Ohio.

Among the areas covered by the document are new policies on use of force; establishment of a Community Police Commission to solicit input from residents; better equipment for the officers – which may include body cameras; and training officers to deal with mental health cases.

Within a year, the CDP has to implement a “single, uniform reporting system” for use of force, with three classification levels, ranging from minor pain and disorientation (Level 1) to “serious physical injury” and lethal force (Level 3). Internal Affairs will have a new Force Investigation Team (FIT), which will examine all Level 3 cases and any accusations of criminal misconduct made against officers.

Dettelbach also said the program would require sensitivity training on “cultural competency and avoiding implicit biases”, including racial and other stereotypes, as well as a major reorganization of the Office of Professional Standards and the Police Review Board. The mayor of Cleveland is to create a new office of Police Inspector General, and appoint the inspector.

This comprehensive settlement – developed with input from a broad spectrum of the Cleveland community – could serve as a model for the nation in addressing police and community relations,” said Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).

In December, a DoJ report concluded that “systematic deficiencies,” “inadequate training” and “ineffective policies” were rampant within the ranks of the Cleveland Police Department between 2010 and 2013, and that “CDP officers too often use unnecessary and unreasonable force in violation of the Constitution.”

At the time, the city was still reeling from the November 22 police shooting that took the life of Tamir Rice, a 13-year-old African-American boy shot down on a Cleveland playground by the CPD.”

Then: Brelo verdict, Holder wants to establish trust, Obama’s DoJ and Seattle, Newark, Albuquerque and Ferguson have all been subjected to federal scrutiny, Obama’s pledge of millions for body cameras, etc.

(U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach of the Northern District of Ohio Delivers Remarks Announcing a Settlement Agreement with the Justice Department Over the Pattern or Practice Investigation into the Cleveland Division of Police | OPA | Department of Justice: transcript from the link)

Oh, yes, and in the middle of the RT piece was this Tweet from Shaun King: ‘

“A civilan will now OVERSEE Internal Affairs in Cleveland. A huge deal. The question will be who appoints that civilian.12:11 PM – 26 May 2015, but I checked his account, and he seems to have gotten more reality-based by now.

Relevant in one such case: ‘6 Albuquerque city councilors held closed-door meetings with DOJ monitor, possibly in violation of law’:

“The Albuquerque Police Department’s monitor over its agreement with the US Department of Justice, James Ginger, promised transparency, but KOB has learned he had private, closed-door meetings with six city councilors this week – skirting open meetings laws and possibly breaking them.
It is somewhat baffling, as just last week, city councilors passionately and publicly questioned why Ginger wouldn’t show up to answer their questions in a public forum.
Then, on Monday, councilors did a 180 and met with Ginger and the DOJ behind closed doors, and no one knew it was happening.
KOB has confirmed that Ginger filled his Monday afternoon with 30-minute closed-door briefings with city councilors.” etc.

Meanwhile:

“CLEVELAND – Sources tell newsnet5.com Reporter Kristin Volk that the Cuyahoga County Sheriff Department has still not interviewed Cleveland Police Officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback as part of their investigation into the death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.

Loehmann fatally shot Tamir last November at the Cudell Recreation Center. He had an airsoft gun, which shoots non-lethal plastic pellets. Garmback drove the patrol car involved in the incident.

Sheriff Clifford Pinkney and a team of detectives took over the investigation in January. Last week, Pinkney announced the investigation is almost complete.

Sources also tell Volk the Sheriff’s department has extended an invitation to Loehmann and Garmback to talk to them as part of their investigation, but they have not accepted.”

Have.not.accepted.

The trial of the Kop Killer Mary O’Callaghan (LAPD) is underway, but she’s not being charged with anything but ‘assault under the color of law’.  It was a bad and grisly death, and I’ll bring more as the trial proceeds.  #AlesiaThomas.

9 responses to “Breaking: No more pistol-whipping: Cleveland settles with DoJ over policing complaints

  1. Haven’t waded through the consent decree yet, but from a quick scan it looks pretty much like all the others. And like the others, it doesn’t have any mechanism to stop the killing.

    The mechanisms, such as they may be, are means to ensure the killings are “lawful.” That was what O’Donnell’s ruling in the Brelo case was all about. According to him, what happened to Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell was “lawful” — because Brelo and all the other cops who fired at them “reasonably” feared for their lives. That’s really all it takes… So long as that’s the case, police will be protected from criminal liability whenever they kill people — because (almost) every killing will be deemed “lawful” so long as they say the Magic Words, “Fearing for my life and the safety of others…”

    When the killing stops — as it has in Oakland and as it has nearly stopped in Albuquerque* — its because of something other than the consent decrees. An order from the top goes out to the field that directs the beat cops and detectives to stop the killing. The consent decrees do not contain that directive, however.

    *An officer was killed in Rio Rancho (suburb of Abq) the other day, however. The alleged perp was captured and is in jail — so they haven’t killed him, not yet anyway. Hate to say it, but I don’t know how long the pause in police killings is going to hold after this and a couple of other incidents. It might not affect APD, though. Rio Rancho adjoins ABQ but is in another county, and RRPD is a separate force. (A friend of ours was married to a retired RRPD detective… haven’t heard her thoughts on this yet, but I can imagine…)

  2. Yes, i *think* o’donnell had mentioned graham v. connor explicitly, a twisted denial of citizens’ (read: thugs’) fourth an eighth amendment rights. section c may be the creepiest dodge. i went to free thought, and found this attributed quote:

    “The judge ruled that Brelo jumping on the hood of the car and dumping his magazine into an unarmed couple was “constitutionally justifiable” because it “wasn’t clear that any perceived threat to the officers was over.”

    ha; it seems they were shooting in something of a circular firing squad in the end. but what would the judge have done with this bit?:

    “In the hours following the shooting, Patrolman James Hummel sent texts in which he said “they all knew” neither of the victims had a gun – that the officers had mistaken a silver can of soda pop for a weapon, prosecutors said.

    Yes, ‘lawful and proper’; ‘all we will subject to review!’ the section on crisis intervention may be well-meant, but we’ve read many pd’s claiming compliance in that area…for a few cops, with little training. or exact non-compliance, with claims of ‘no budget for it!’

    as to your last graph, come to think of it: the document short-version never mentioned a word about jail treatment standards. maybe it’s in the 105-page pdf. for me, *those* deaths, while heading to jail, in jail, or in prison, are a huge part of what’s missing in the police and incarceration state eposés.

    but i i loved mayor jackson saying that the consent agreement simply mirrored what the CPD was already about. i snagged the hour long video of the presser, if anyone wants it. i don’t, myownself.

  3. Thanks for mentioning the Rio Rancho shooting, Che Pasa. It is in my county, Sandoval, happened on Memorial Day evening five minutes after the officer’s shift had ended. Normally a quiet community (I shop there) and the local police patrol one officer per car.

    It comes to my mind that the officers who practise brutality put all dedicated to the community police officers in harm’s way. That might not have been the cause of this occurrence, but it is most certainly a cause. My heart goes out to the families of all victims of violence.

    Only a few days ago I trundled past a policeman sitting in his vehicle having his lunch. He grinned and waved at me, a somewhat comical figure, and I grinned and waved back. That’s how it should be everywhere. Not too much grinning and waving going on for the time being where I shop. Just a lot of sadness and heavy hearts.

    • By all accounts, he was a fine man. Unfortunately, given the number of civilians killed by police in this country, civilians are more and more wary of police and many times have reason to fear for their lives when encountering an officer.

      I want all the killing to stop, both the killing of 1,000 or more civilians by police every year and the 50 or so police who are killed by civilians every year.

      Then we can start working on further reducing the murder rate among everyone else.

      You’re right. Those officers who are dedicated to violent policing are putting every other officer in jeopardy by their actions. You’d think the honchos would have told them to desist a long time ago…

      • And of course, the media is blowing the situation way out of proportion – mostly I stay away from that poison, but I looked last night to try to get more information than I had found online. Everyone is supposed to go out and buy blue lightbulbs – how sick is that? Indeed, you know the whole genuine sadness will be jumped upon (and is) to promote an ‘us against them’ propagandistic meme – such as a police forum piece I saw yesterday linked at nakedcapitalism.com that frankly sickened me. It was fine when it talked about the actual stresses of police work, but it went on to glorify everyone wearing the badge and villify everyone ‘out there’ – totally inappropriate garbage, and that on an official site which could be doing much to calm the waters. You have to believe there is a corrupt mentality right at the top of these organizations when you see such extreme ideas in print.

        • I saw some of the coverage on KOB yesterday and on some of the other stations on previous days, and yes, over-the-top is putting it mildly. WAY over the top. And I assume it’s because management wants it that way, was actually just waiting for a cop to get killed for this kind of coverage to begin. That’s cynical, I know, but it’s how some media/tv “news” enterprises work. The more they overdo it, tho, the lower my opinion of the station and potentially of the officer — who from all indications so far was not a s-o-b causing or looking for trouble.

          From what I’ve read or heard, it seems to me that the incident was driven by panic/paranoia likely the result of illicit substances, primarily crank. This was apparently also the case with the officer who was shot and wounded in Albuquerque in January.

          I wonder if the supervisor who shot his own undercover officer was tweaking, too. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t surprise me.

          The inability of police to fathom the reasons for the animosity toward them is a function of the separation they have achieved and maintained from the people they police. It’s systemic, and it’s very similar to the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan, where troops had/have essentially zero connection with the people, shoot and kill them with essentially complete impunity, and justify everything they do as “just doing their job.”

          They can’t fathom why they are hated by the Natives, either.

    • ooof; i was glad that the original piece linked actually reminded me of akai gurley’s name. for me, the most haunting sign ever seen at a BlackLivesMatter protest was during a die-in. “Please stop making us remember so many names!”

      remember the shooter phoned his union rep instead f calling for an ambulance first? akai bled out on the staircase. interesting to read that workers were uncomfortable with the characterization of cops as ‘trigger-happy’, no? but those quotes were anonymous…or something.

      nice to see you, marym. i’m trying not to ask any leading questions about fdl. ;-) i mainly peer into some of the posts with many comments, as they are almost always attributable to flame wars; late nights no longer yield any info on site doings/gossip, so i’ve stopped looking, thank goodness.

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