Cleveland police have history of incidents involving allegations of excessive use of force

CLEVELAND - Our investigation finds Cleveland police officers have been accused of excessive use of force in several high profile cases over the last decade.

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Justice announced the agency will conduct a full investigation into the Cleveland Police Department's use of force practices, policies and procedures.

The investigation follows the most recent high profile case involving allegations of excessive use of force on Nov. 29. Timothy Russell, 43, and Malissa Williams, 30, were killed after 13 officers fired 137 rounds into their vehicle. The pair led police on a high-speed chase that involved 62 police vehicles.

After finishing a two-month investigation into the incident, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said it was a systemic failure on the part of Cleveland police.

"Command failed. Communications failed. The system failed," he said.

Below is a review of other recent high profile incidents:

- Kenneth Smith: On March 10, 2012, Smith was shot and killed by off-duty Cleveland police officer Roger Jones on East 9th Street and Prospect Avenue. Cleveland police said Jones resisted arrest and reached for a gun. A civil lawsuit filed by Smith's mother last Friday says Smith was unarmed and was attempting to surrender when Jones shot him in the head.

- Daniel Ficker:  Ficker died on July 4, 2011, after he was shot and killed by a Cleveland police officer outside of his Parma home. The officer, Matthew Craska, left Cleveland to pick up off-duty officer Dave Mindek and drive to Ficker's home. The officers planned to question Ficker about a burglary at Mindek's house. Ficker's family has filed a civil lawsuit. Both officers are awaiting disciplinary action from the city of Cleveland.

- Edward Henderson: Henderson led police on a high-speed chase on Jan. 1, 2011. After he crashed his van, his attorneys said officers beat him so badly they broke one of his eye sockets. Four Cleveland police officers were charged with felonious assault and obstruction of official business. The assault was captured by police helicopter video.

- Brandon McCloud:  McCloud was shot and killed by Cleveland police detectives on Sept. 1, 2005. He was shot 10 times in his bedroom after detectives showed up at his house with a search warrant related to several robberies. Cleveland police said McCloud threatened officers with a steak knife. His family's attorney said the investigation revealed several shots were fired while McCloud was sitting down and that officers violated several department rules.

Thomas Perez, the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, told reporters at Thursday's news conference that he and his staff decided to conduct a full investigation after reviewing several years worth of police reports and allegations of use of excessive force.

Perez did not specify which incidents led his office to decide to investigate the Cleveland Police Department.

The U.S. Department of Justice conducted an earlier investigation into excessive use of force allegations that ended in 2004. At the time, U.S attorneys recommended Cleveland change its use of force policy and provide additional training for officers.

Since the independent review stemming from the Nov. 29 chase turned fatal shooting incident, revisions were made to the Cleveland Police Department's use of force policy. The items italicized in the .pdf document denote the changes: http://5.wews.com/iWguA.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments