Cleveland Police Officer Won't Be Disciplined for Antisemitic Tweets Since They Were Made Prior to Being Hired

City institutes new policies to review social media posts for candidates, mandates ADL training

Quran receiving his officer of the year award - City of Cleveland/Canary Mission
City of Cleveland/Canary Mission
Quran receiving his officer of the year award

While condemning the antisemitic rhetoric used by Cleveland police officer Ismail Quran in tweets surfaced earlier this summer, the city of Cleveland in a statement yesterday said that because they were sent prior to Quran joining the force in 2018, he broke no policies or rules and will not be punished.

“Antisemitism and bigotry are reprehensible and have no place in our community or our police department. We have zero tolerance for hateful and dangerous rhetoric directed at our Jewish communities. This type of hate speech is a horrible example of explicit bias in our police force. We cannot emphasize strongly enough that discrimination of any kind, against anyone, simply will not be tolerated," Mayor Justin Bibb and Cleveland Police Chief Wayne Drummond said in a joint release. "We are frustrated and disappointed that no charges can be filed against Officer Ismail Quran, despite extensive internal investigations by the Cleveland Division of Police (CDP), the City Prosecutor, and the Law Department. Officer Quran’s hateful offenses were communicated years before he was hired, making it impossible to successfully enforce discipline."

The city will institute a variety of steps to ensure something similar doesn't happen again, including evaluating bias through behavioral-based interviews, social media monitoring, bias training, mandated cultural competency training for all Public Safety employees, and further mandatory training from the Anti-Defamation League for all officers.

Cleveland previously didn't review social media posts from applying officers.

Quran's tweets included one reading "Fuck that Jew," another saluting Hitler, and others sharing anti-Jewish conspiracy theories.

"Under the circumstances, these are the steps that we can take as a city to reinforce our values and expectations of all employees and help the community heal. We fully expect our police officers—and all who serve the public across the city—to provide the highest levels of professionalism and respect to all citizens," Bibb and Drummond said. "While these actions cannot undo the hurt and anger this officer’s behavior has caused our Jewish community, we hope that they illustrate how seriously we take this situation."

The pair also used the incident to champion the importance of the newly formed Cleveland Community Police Commission, whose first members will be introduced in the coming weeks.

"This situation amplifies why police reform is necessary."

Response from Jewish organizations was mixed. While lauding the mayor's harsh condemnation and the city's new policies, groups like StopAntisemitism and the American Jewish Committee lamented the fact Quran, who was named the department's officer of the year in 2019, not only gets to keep his award but his job.

"While he made those statements prior to joining the CDP, they are inexcusable for anyone who wears the uniform," the American Jewish Committee said in a statement.

“There are no words to describe our disappointment that this hateful bigot will still be policing the streets of Cleveland, and we are concerned for its Jewish citizens,” Liora Rez, the executive director of StopAntisemitism told the Plain Dealer.
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