Cleveland Police Issue Clarified Use-of-Force Policy

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A new use-of-force policy proposed yesterday by the Cleveland police monitoring team  is designed to be a stepping stone on which all other departmental reforms can be built, head monitor Matthew Barge tells Barge said the proposal, which was mandated in the city’s settlement with the U.S. Justice Department, would be “a road map to a different organization and a new approach to force.”

The proposed policy was made public after input from the Justice Department, the city and other stakeholders. It says that officers can use force when it is “objectionably reasonable” — a legal standard that means an average officer would have made the same decision. This takes into account the fact that officers often have to make split-second decisions. They must also take into account the totality of the circumstances. The clarification was necessary because of many instances where officers used force against a suspect, even when the suspect was not resisting or violent.

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