Salon.com Article Discusses Cleveland Monitoring

An article on Salon.com on Cleveland hosting the Republican National Convention in late July discusses the Cleveland Consent Decree monitoring:

A monitor is on the job but new “use of force” guidelines still months off

It took until October of last year for the appointment of Matthew Barge as the federal monitor for the CPD. It wasn’t until early this year that the court signed off on the monitor’s action plan. In his first semiannual report, issued last month, Barge conceded that “because the RNC is increasingly imposing substantial operational demands on CPD and the city,” the engagement of the broader community in reviewing the proposed final draft of the CPD’s new use of force guidelines would be put off until later in July or August. Based in the current timeline that new policy, won’t hit the streets until Jan. 1, 2017.

According to the latest monitor’s report, Cleveland’s police department is dealing with a legacy of underinvestment in technology related to records management and its call dispatching system. Efforts at trying to upgrade some of these systems have been hit with setbacks.

Barge wasalso sharply critical ofthe agencies within the police deportment charged with reviewing civilian complaints and monitoring police on-the-job performance. “The conditions of the Office of Professional Standards, which investigates civilian complaints, is unacceptable and irresponsible by any measure. The state of the Office of Professional Standards is dire,” concludes the monitor’s report.

In the aftermath of the 2014 Tamir Rice shooting, Mayor Jackson offered a presentation that summed up the results of his efforts to reform the troubled police agency, from 2006, when he was first elected, up until the end of 2014. According to the slides from that speech, available online, Cleveland had made significant progress in reducing police-on-civilian violence in that six-year period. Between 2006 and 2014 the instances of the use of non-lethal tactics, like batons, pepper spray, taser or physical force, dropped from 885 down to 405, a 54 percent decline. Over the same period the instances of deadly force dropped by 48 percent, from 31 deaths in 2006 to 16 in 2014.

In the federal monitor’s June report Barge committed that he and his team “will be on the ground in Cleveland…to the extent that any events may require” them to “monitor any situations that might unfold that implicate the use of force, internal and citizen’s complaint investigations, bias-free policing, supervision, or other Consent Decree issues.”

Read the full article here.