Cleveland, Justice Department to announce settlement over policing

Reuters News
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Posted: May 26, 2015 12:31 PM

WASHINGTON/CLEVELAND (Reuters) - The city of Cleveland and the U.S. Department of Justice will announce a settlement agreement at 1:30 p.m. EDT on Tuesday after an investigation into police practices, the city said in a post on Twitter.

The Justice Department concluded a 21-month investigation in December that found the Cleveland police engaged in widespread use of excessive force against its civilians.

The investigation found incidents of officers shooting civilians in the head when deadly force was not justified and dealing too forcefully with the mentally ill.

Steve Loomis, president of the union Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association, said the settlement is intended to address those allegations.

Loomis said an independent federal monitor will be appointed to oversee the police and report directly to a federal judge.

The settlement comes at a tense time between communities and law enforcement nationwide. Protests have erupted following several high-profile deaths of black men at the hands of police, most recently in Baltimore.

Cleveland was the scene of such a shooting last year when police shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice for what turned out to be a replica gun that fires plastic pellets.

On Saturday, Michael Brelo, the Cleveland officer who fatally shot unarmed couple Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams in 2012 was acquitted, sparking protests. Russell and Williams were black, and Brelo is white.

Ahead of the press conference on Tuesday, more than 200 protesters demonstrated outside Cleveland City Hall chanting Rice's name along with Russell's and Williams, and singing the civil rights anthem "We Shall Overcome."

(Reporting By Julia Edwards in Washington and Kim Palmer in Cleveland; Editing by Bill Trott and Susan Heavey)