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Cleveland community organizations file amicus brief raising concerns about certain deficiencies in the Department of Justice and City of Cleveland's consent decree

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Cleveland Community Organizations File Amicus Brief Raising Concerns About Certain Deficiencies in the Department of Justice and City of Cleveland's Consent Decree



James Hardiman, NAACP

Dr. Rhonda Y. Williams, Collaborative for a Safe, Fair, and Just Cleveland

Edward Little, Collaborative for a Safe, Fair, and Just Cleveland

CLEVELAND, OHIO—Today, Chandra Law as pro bono co-counsel for the Cleveland NAACP; the Collaborative for a Safe, Fair, and Just Cleveland; and the Ohio Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild filed an amicus brief with U.S. District Judge Solomon Oliver critiquing aspects of the settlement agreement between the Department of Justice and the City of Cleveland. Judge Oliver entered an order adopting the agreement on June 12, 2015. The organizations decided to file a joint amicus brief after they were led to believe that they would have time to comment on the agreement before the court would issue its order. That did not happen.

While the organizations support the agreement, they have found certain provisions to be either deficient or potentially illegal. These include the following concerns:

  • Failing to ensure the new inspector general's independence by assigning the IG to answer to the police chief, the very person whose policies and actions the IG is supposed to freely critique,
  • Allowing the police-rather than an outside independent investigative agency-to police themselves by investigating their own use of force resulting in death or grievous bodily harm,
  • Failing to require collection of demographic data on complainants to track the Division's "bias-free" policing reforms,
  • Failing to develop youth-focused police policies and training to prevent instances of excessive force,
  • Failing to provide the Community Policing Commission with the necessary powers, resources, and organization to inspire belief in its effectiveness,
  • Granting illegal immunity for the Monitor from ever testifying in court regardless of vital evidence the Monitor might possess.

The community organizations hope to persuade Judge Oliver to engage the Department of Justice and City of Cleveland to adopt essential changes to the settlement agreement and order that would better ensure the success of reforms.

The amicus brief can be found here Brief-of-Amici-Curiae-NAACP-et-al.pdf.

Related Practice Areas
Police Misconduct & Brutality

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