The Euclid NAACP is calling for reform within the city’s police department after an exclusive 5 On Your Side investigation revealed less than 20 percent of officers were involved in more than 80 percent of the police department’s use of force incidents.
“I think this story is going to show the failure of the administration to not only get a handle on the situation, but they have failed residents and people who voted for them,” said Cassandra McDonald, president of the Euclid NAACP, in an interview with News 5.
Five On Your Side Investigators spent six months examining hundreds of use of force forms filed over a two and a half year period.
Our data analysis uncovered a small group of officers are involved in the majority of incidents, and almost all of them are still patrolling the streets, despite federal lawsuits filed against them alleging civil rights violations.
We also found officers named in the police brutality lawsuits showed warning signs.
The investigation highlighted specific cases where civilians said they were attacked by police officers. The residents were acquitted of charges filed against them.
“It’s sad – it almost made me tear up,” McDonald said. “Because these are people. How could you just sit by and let so much hurt and pain happen?”
“If the mayor and the administration had exercised their authority in handling the small group of individuals prior to everything going haywire, we wouldn’t be in such a dire situation,” McDonald said.
“I call it dire because right now, there is an uprise of people saying, ‘We won’t let this happen again,’” she added. “If we don’t extinguish it, we could be in for something that could be catastrophic.”
McDonald said she’s concerned about the impact on the community if reform is not achieved.
‘If they [city administration] can’t get it together, everyone should demand that they be removed, whether it’s recall or this 2020 election,” McDonald said. “Show them that we need change.”
Hours after News 5’s investigation published online, Euclid Mayor Kirsten Holzheimer Gail responded to News 5's reporting via email and said the city and police are "committed to providing a safe community and to treating all residents justly and with dignity and respect."
She said the city has contacted the U.S. Department of Justice to implement a procedural justice training program for its officers. You can read her full statement here.