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Cleveland police use of force is down, but federal monitoring may continue longer than five years

Posted: 1:15 PM, Aug 15, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-15 22:29:48Z

A newly released report by the independent monitor overseeing federally-mandated reforms found the Cleveland Division of Police has made “significant progress in a number of critical areas” but may fail to complete reforms within the five years outlined in the city’s settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ).

The Fifth Semiannual Report, released Wednesday, found “significant work” is still needed to complete all of the required reforms.

Improvements made
The report found that use of force incidents have dropped in the City of Cleveland. 

After implementing a new policy, Cleveland police officers reported 40 percent fewer incidents of use of force during the first five months of 2018 compared to the same timeframe last year, according to the report. 

Between January and May of 2018, officers reported 63 incidents of use of force. By comparison, officers reported 103 incidents of use of force between January and May 2017, according to the report.

The numbers of serious crimes and officers injured are also down, according to the report.

The new use-of-force policy took effect on Jan. 1 after officers were trained last year. 

Improvement needed
The report also discusses areas where Cleveland has struggled to adopt reforms, including the Office of Professional Standards, which handles citizen complaints, and the Community Police Commission, whose purpose is to improve community-police relations.

Some background
The semiannual report provides an update on the progress made by the Cleveland Division of Police related to reforms mandated by the federal consent decree. The City of Cleveland signed the agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice in May of 2015. 

The agreement was signed after a 2014 USDOJ report found Cleveland police officers engaged in a pattern and practice of using excessive force in violation of citizens’ civil rights.

A status conference to discuss the Fifth Semiannual Report is taking place today before U.S. District Judge Solomon Oliver. 

Investigator Sarah Buduson will have more details tonight on News 5. 

You can view the report here:

Fifth Semiannual Report FINAL by Joe Donatelli on Scribd