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Friday, December 28, 2012

Mayor Frank Jackson Requests Outside Agency For Police Investigation

Posted By on Fri, Dec 28, 2012 at 11:37 AM

What began as a deadly police shooting and a super-sized shit sandwich for the mayor’s administration is now a deadly police shooting investigation and a chorus of “uhm,” “ah” and “erm, you see...”

The shit sandwich is still very much on the city's plate, as well.

Following his rather ineffectual response to the deadly shooting brought on by Cleveland police Nov. 29, which resulted in two deaths, Mayor Frank Jackson announced his intent to bring in an outside group to assist in the review of officers’ practices that night.

He did not name a particular oversight agency during his Dec. 27 news conference, though mentioned that he had contacted the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. A response is anticipated in the coming weeks (maybe?), regarding any investigation into the deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams and the protocol employed by police.

Similarly, the NAACP and other civil rights groups and representation have called for a federal probe. James Hardiman, legal director for the ACLU of Ohio, urged for impartiality in any investigation, whether in locally or more broadly.

“This is not an indictment of the people or agencies currently assigned to the investigation. However, putting local law enforcement in charge of investigating themselves is clearly not the best way to conduct an impartial, independent inquiry,” Hardiman said.

Presently, a criminal investigation is taking place via East Cleveland police (which, on another note, will undergo a dramatic staff cut early next year), the Cuyahoga County sheriff’s office and the state’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation. Hardiman’s organization expressed a strong desire for the East Cleveland Police Department and the sheriff’s office to withdraw from any investigation, citing even tangential connections to the case.

“The public must have strong faith that this investigation is impartial. Involvement of those who were parties to the incident will only undermine the probe - no matter how well it is conducted,” Hardiman wrote in a letter to County Prosecutor Tim McGinty.

The ongoing internal review process would be expected to reveal findings within about six weeks.

“If our officers act in accordance with our policies and procedures, they will have our full support and they will be protected,” Jackson said. “But if officers go outside the parameters they we have set, then there will be consequences.”

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