The Cleveland police department has agreed to follow some of the nation’s most exacting standards over how and when its officers can use force, and it will accept close oversight to make sure those rules are not ignored, the New York Times reports. The agreement was made in a settlement with the Justice Department over what federal officials have called a pattern of unconstitutional policing and abuse. DOJ found last year that Cleveland officers used stun guns inappropriately, punched and kicked unarmed people, and shot at people who posed no threat. The episodes often went unreported and uninvestigated.
“There is much work to be done, across the nation and in Cleveland, to rebuild trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve where it has eroded, but it can be done,” said Vanita Gupta of DOJ’s Civil Rights Division. “Today's agreement really should serve as a model for those seeking to address similar issues in their communities.” Cleveland has agreed to document every time officers so much as unholster their guns. Police supervisors will investigate the uses of force in much the same way that officers investigate crimes. “A fundamental goal of the revised use of force policy will be to account for, review and investigate every reportable use of force,” the agreement says.