NewsChannel5 Investigators have learned the City of Cleveland has hired an outside law firm to represent the city and 13 officers named in a federal lawsuit filed by the family members of the victims of the deadly Nov. 2012 police chase and shooting.
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.
One year after a high-speed Cleveland police chase, questions remain about how the chase ended with a shootout that left two unarmed people dead.
Family members of the victims of the deadly 2012 Cleveland police chase have filed a lawsuit against the city and several police officers involved.
Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath says he foresees a new policy holding supervisors "more accountable" as a result of his review into the Nov. 29, 2012 police chase.
Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath announced Tuesday the results of disciplinary hearings for officers involved in the Nov. 29, 2012 deadly chase. 63 patrol officers have been suspended.
Turmoil in the Cleveland Police Department has hurt officer morale, invigorated a mayoral campaign and led to frank discussions about race.
NewsChannel5 investigators learned Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath will begin holding disciplinary hearings for officers involved in the Nov. 29 deadly chase Friday.
Disciplinary hearings began on Monday for Cleveland patrol officers facing charges related to the Nov. 29 police chase and shooting.
New details have emerged in the case of two Clevelanders gunned down last year by Cleveland police following a police chase throughout the city.
It was shortly after the Nov. 29 shooting deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams that East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton asked something of his law director and prosecutor.