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The city of Cleveland and the Department of Justice (DOJ) reached an agreement Tuesday that will implement broad policing reforms focused on reducing the use of force and racial bias. The agreement follows a DOJ investigation in December that found the Cleveland Division of Police (CDP) "engages in a pattern or practice of the use of excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution."
Cleveland has been one of the focal points of recent discussions and protests regarding police violence following the shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice and the acquittal of Officer Michael Brelo, who fired 49 shots at an unarmed couple following a police chase in 2012, killing them both.
No Simple Solution
The reforms under the agreement will also focus on bias-free policing and new officer training techniques. Some of the new measures require:
The agreement is enforceable in court, and an independent monitor will track the reforms and report back to a federal judge about CDP's progress. The DOJ recently completed an investigation into the Ferguson, Missouri police department and court system and is set to begin an investigation of Baltimore police. Those investigations follow the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown and the death of Freddie Gray, who suffered fatal injuries while in police custody.
The DOJ has opened investigations into 22 local police departments in the last five years -- more than twice as many as it opened in the five years prior. Police departments in Albuquerque, Detroit, New Orleans, Portland, Ore., and Seattle are currently under consent decrees to implement reform measures.