A nearly two-year review of the Cleveland Division of Police says its use-of-force policies and training are in line with national standards. That’s the word from Cleveland officials, who presented the results of the report Wednesday. ideastream’s Nick Castele reports.
The review was conducted by the Police Executive Research Forum, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank. Police Chief Michael McGrath said he was satisfied by the results.
“Overall, once again, PERF found the division’s policies to be sound, and our training and procedures to be sound," McGrath said.
McGrath said no one incident prompted this review -- and in fact, the chief asked for it a year and a half before dozens of officers joined a car chase that ended with police fatally shooting two unarmed people.
But one of the 26 recommended policy changes seemed to reflect that incident -- it would ban firing weapons at a moving car, even if the car is being used d to exert deadly force.
The head of Cleveland’s police union, Jeffrey Follmer, disagreed with that idea. Police have said they opened fire on the car last year for just that reason -- saying the driver appeared to be trying to ram officers.
“You know, a vehicle can be used as deadly force," Follmer said. "If you have a mother and her child out there, and a vehicle is being used as deadly force, are we not supposed to take action?”
Responding to a question about the chase at the press conference, Mayor Frank Jackson said that police shouldn’t respond in overwhelming numbers during vehicle pursuits.
“That culture is not sustainable if you want to maintain a trusting relationship between the public and the division of police," Jackson said. "It is not good for the public and it is not good for the police officer.”
In response, Follmer defended police actions.