(CLEVELAND, OH, 12/4/14) — The Cleveland chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Cleveland) today welcomed an announcement by Attorney General Eric Holder on the results of a Justice Department review of controversial “use-of-force incidents” involving that city's police department.
Holder said an agreement has been reached on police reforms to “ensure that robust new policies and practices will result in more effective and constitutional policing.”
In prepared remarks today in Cleveland, Holder said in part:
“After a thorough and independent review, the Department of Justice has completed its civil pattern or practice investigation into the Cleveland Division of Police. This investigation spanned more than a year and a half. And it was launched in response to a series of troubling, high-profile use-of-force incidents, as well as by numerous public calls for a federal investigation by civic leaders, Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, and Mayor Jackson.
“Since March 2013, the Justice Department has closely examined nearly 600 use-of-force incidents that occurred between 2010 and 2013, including incidents involving the use of lethal and less-than-lethal force. We have determined that there is reasonable cause to believe that the Cleveland Division of Police engages in a pattern or practice of using excessive force — in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and as a result of systemic deficiencies, including insufficient accountability, inadequate training and equipment, ineffective policies, and inadequate engagement with the community.
“Fortunately, today, I can announce that the Department of Justice and the city of Cleveland have come together to set in motion a process that will remedy these issues in a comprehensive — and court-enforceable — manner.
“Under Mayor Jackson's leadership, the city has acknowledged that the department's findings raise issues of importance to people throughout this community. And together, we have agreed to a Statement of Principles that will lead to a court-enforceable consent decree — including an independent monitor who will oversee the implementation of sustainable reforms, assess compliance based on objective measures, and ensure that robust new policies and practices will result in more effective and constitutional policing.”
SEE: Attorney General Holder Delivers Remarks at Press Conference on Investigation into Cleveland Division of Police
SEE ALSO: Remarks by Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta at the Press Conference to Announce the Cleveland Division of Police Investigative Findings
“We appreciate the responsiveness of the U.S. Department of Justice to community concerns about police misconduct,” said CAIR-Cleveland Executive Director Julia Shearson. “Although the findings are disturbing and highly critical of the police department, we welcome them as a first step toward much needed reform.”
Shearson also commended the local United States attorney and his staff and expressed appreciation for the Justice Department's increased activism across the country to examine use of force by police and to provide oversight and tools for reform.
She said CAIR is committed to working with diverse community groups to help promote reforms and to make Cleveland a safer place for all who live in, work in, and visit the city.
On Saturday, December 6, CAIR-Cleveland will join with local and national civil and human rights groups to co-host a forum on police shootings in the wake of the fatal shooting by police of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy, who was playing with a soft-pellet gun outside a local recreation center in that city.
WHAT: Forum on Police Shootings & Community Response
WHEN: Saturday, December 6, 2014, 11:00 a.m. – 3 p.m.
WHERE: Cleveland Public Library, MLK, Jr. Branch, 1962 Stokes Blvd., Cleveland, Ohio 44106
CONTACT: CAIR-Cleveland Executive Director Julia Shearson, 216.830.2247, email@example.com
CAIR has a long history of engagement with the Cleveland Police Department through helping with training on diverse communities, as well as training on immigrant victims of domestic violence and serving as a liaison between the Muslim community and law enforcement.
The Muslim civil rights group has also participated in several studies related to engagement with law enforcement (federal and local) including the Cleveland Police Department, including a year-long project under the guidance of the Vera Institute of Justice, which surveyed the Muslim community about police community relations.
CAIR recently called for a “national action” to address issues of racism in the aftermath of a Missouri grand jury's decision to not indict the officer who shot Michael Brown. CAIR also questioned the “problematic” grand jury process that resulted in a failure to indict the officer.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR-Cleveland Executive Director Julia Shearson, 216.830.2247, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202.744.7726, email@example.com; CAIR Communications Manager Amina Rubin, 202.341.4171, firstname.lastname@example.org