Just days after a judge acquitted a Cleveland officer in the shooting deaths of two unarmed people when he fired his gun 49 times, the Department of Justice has reached a settlement with the city over the conduct of its police, a justice official tells the Washington Post.
The settlement announcement comes amid a widening debate about policing in the U.S. following a string of high-profile deaths of unarmed Blacks at the hands of officers, sparking protests from Cleveland to Baltimore to New York to South Carolina.
Protests erupted in Cleveland Saturday after Michael Brelo, 31, was acquitted of two counts of felony voluntary manslaughter in the deaths of Timothy Russell, 43, and Malissa Williams, 30. Russell and Williams were killed Nov. 29, 2012, after they led 62 police vehicles on a chase across Cleveland.
When Russell’s Chevrolet Malibu finally came to a stop in East Cleveland, 13 officers opened fire, shooting at least 137 rounds into the vehicle, writes the news outlet.
From the Washington Post:
The Justice Department in December issued a scathing report that accused the Cleveland Police Department of illegally using deadly force against citizens. The Justice Department’s civil rights division found that the Cleveland police engaged in a “pattern or practice” of unnecessary force — including shooting residents, striking them in the head and spraying them with chemicals.
In one incident, an officer used a stun gun on “a suicidal, deaf man who committed no crime, posed minimal risk to officers and may not have understood officers’ commands.”…
The Cleveland report was released the month after a 12-year-old African American boy, Tamir Rice, was fatally shot by a white Cleveland police officer. Cleveland officers had responded to a 911 call that reported a person pointing a gun. It turned out to be a toy pistol.
A Justice Department spokeswoman would not comment to the Post on the settlement, which was first reported by the New York Times.
SOURCE: Washington Post , NYT | VIDEO CREDIT: NDN
Watch Roland Martin and the NewsOne Now Straight Talk Panel discuss the acquittal of Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo and the deal the Justice Department has made with the City of Cleveland in the video clip below.