Share This Page

Feds to open civil rights investigation of Cleveland police department

| Thursday, March 14, 2013, 8:21 p.m.

The Justice Department said on Thursday it will open a wide-ranging civil rights investigation into the use of force by Cleveland's police department, whose officers fired 137 shots at the end of a huge police chase last fall, killing two likely unarmed people.

Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez said the investigation will look beyond the November car chase that involved more than 60 patrol cars and ended in the deaths of Timothy Russell, 43, and his 30-year-old passenger, Malissa Williams.

Perez said the probe will not be a criminal investigation; its focus is the entire department, not individual officers. It will analyze several years of excessive force claims as well as police policies, training and procedures, he said.

“We go into this with no preconceived notions,” Perez said at a news conference in Cleveland.

City leaders had asked the federal government to review Cleveland police division policies after the car chase, which raised questions about the conduct of officers. But Perez said there was not one tipping point that led to the wider investigation.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said he welcomed the expanded investigation.

“It is vital that there is a level of trust between police and the community,” he said.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.