In the wake of the acquittal of Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo this past weekend, the Justice Department and the city reached a settlement over the questionable conduct of its police officers. The Cleveland Police Department has been under heavy scrutiny for claims of excessive force and violating constitutional rights.
The Washington Post reported on the settlement Monday (May 25) and says that an official announcement from the Justice Department is forthcoming according to an official at the government agency. The aforementioned Brelo was the center of controversy after he and a handful of other officers gunned down an unarmed Black couple after a car chase in November 2012.
Brelo was acquitted of his charges of manslaughter, igniting a series of protests over the holiday weekend. By way of several local reports from Cleveland area outlets, around 71 people have been arrested.
What the settlement entails is unknown, according to the New York Times. But in past investigations of the same sort, the Justice Department has suggested bringing in independent monitors to highlight and oversee changes of police departments that have been pegged as abusing their authority. Adding to this, the Department will also call for new training guidelines and ask the departments to revise their use-of-force policies.
Before former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder stepped down earlier this year, his office worked tirelessly to improve community policing and repair some of the disconnect between the public and police officers considering events over the past few years.
Last December, the Justice Department released a report which focused on claims that Cleveland police executed deadly force against citizens. The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division zeroed in on what it found to be a pattern of excessive force and violent acts out of line with police department policies.
Photo: AP Photo/John Minchillo