The U.S. Justice Department today announced a civil-rights investigation into possible misconduct by Cleveland police, reports the city’s Plain Dealer. The sweeping probe will examine the police department’s policies and practices and will specifically explore whether officers routinely use excessive force. U.S. Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez said, “This work is not easy, but this independent review is critical to ensuring and preserving trust between a police department and the community it serves.”
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said he welcomed the inquiry. Such investigations typically take 12 to 18 months and often result in an agreement, or consent decree, that calls for a federal judge to oversee efforts by a department to reform its ways. Jackson requested the review in December, following a controversial police chase in which a third of the city’s police force participated without seeking permission and which ended with a barrage of police gunfire that killed two people. Last month, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine called that November night a “systemic failure” of the police department. Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty is expected to present the case to a grand jury.