A federal review of policing in Cleveland found that officers’ use of unreasonable force was part of a pattern of behavior that was in some cases endorsed by supervisors.
The Justice Department’s scathing findings, disclosed Thursday as a wave of protests took aim at police conduct in Ferguson, Mo., and New York, were relayed to city officials in a 58-page summary of a 21-month investigation into policing operations.
Cleveland also has been the site of protests over last month’s police shooting of a 12-year-old boy, who was in possession of a toy gun.
The officer identified as the shooter in the case reportedly displayed emotional problems and poor firearm skills in his former job with a neighboring law enforcement agency before joining the Cleveland force where he was a rookie officer at the time of last month’s incident.
The Justice review examined 600 incidents in which police used some method of force between 2010 and 2013. It concluded in part that law enforcement is “sometimes chaotic and dangerous … and frequently deprives individuals of their constitutional rights.”
Among the most troubling disclosures:
• In addition to fatal shootings, the excessive force involved victims who were struck in the head, sometimes with the butts of police-issued firearms.
• Some of the incidents involved the mentally ill or emotionally disturbed in cases where officers were called merely to check on their welfare.
• Poor training contributed to cases in which policed employed dangerous tactics that placed the general public at risk.
SOURCE: Kevin Johnson