Justice Department findings on Cleveland police

AP News
|
Posted: Dec 04, 2014 1:25 PM

In a report Thursday, the U.S. Justice Department concluded Cleveland police officers too often violate people's civil rights because of inadequate training and a lack of supervision and accountability. Some of the findings:

— Officers fired guns at people who did not pose "an immediate threat of death or serious bodily injury to officers or others."

— Officers used guns in a "careless and dangerous manner," including hitting suspects in the head with their firearms and firing in ways that place innocent bystanders in danger.

— Officers used stun guns and pepper spray instead of trying to de-escalate situations.

— Officers punched suspects who have been handcuffed "as punishment" after a person struggled with an officer or did not comply with demands.

— Officers arrested and assaulted mentally ill people after family members called police for help.

— Officers reported receiving little supervision, guidance, and support, leaving them to determine for themselves how to perform their jobs.

— Supervisors endorse questionable and unlawful conduct. Investigations of officers' use of force appear to be designed to justify officers' actions.

— The department is often antagonistic toward the community it serves. A large sign hanging in one station identified it as a "forward operating base," a war zone military term.