A special investigator hired by plaintiff attorneys finds Cleveland police responsible for the death of 37-year-old Tanisha Anderson who died in police custody.
The Anderson family says the findings contained in a report filed in federal court support their belief that Anderson died as a result of excessive force.
Anderson’s family called police on November 12, 2014 seeking mental health assistance for Anderson who had recently been released from a mental health facility and has filed a federal lawsuit alleging excessive force.
Cassandra Johnson, Anderson's mother, said she is "hopeful this will finally bring justice for Tanisha" and stressed again that the case "has been passed off from one agency to another for nearly two years".
In addition, attorneys for Anderson are asking a federal judge for a partial summary judgment against the officers involved based on "excessive force and deliberate indifference".
A report filed Monday by a former deputy police chief for the Los Angeles police department found:
- Cleveland Police exhibited deliberate indifference in training, supervision and policy
- Unreasonable and excessive use of force by officers
- Failure to provide medical care for Anderson
Attorneys for Anderson also filed an amended complaint in federal court alleging excessive force, denial of medical assistance, wrongful death, assault and battery and violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The report reviewing police handling of the Anderson case was authored by Lou Reiter who retired from active police duty in 1981 after 20 years of service and now serves as a consultant and expert witness on police tactics.
Reiter reached his conclusions about the case after reviewing depositions of 15 Cleveland police officers, witness interviews and court documents.
In his review, Reiter found Anderson was "handcuffed, held down and restrained with a knee in her back" for "at least 14 minutes" before any medical assistance was initiated.
Reiter also found the officers involved "caused her injuries due to positional asphyxia".
In addition, Reiter's report alleges that Cleveland's police department "has nothing in its written policies, procedures, directives or training that "references in any manner the critical subject control issue of positional asphyxia".
The report concludes there is "continuous oversight failures and gross lack of supervisory control" of use of force by Cleveland police.