As Justice Department Scrutinizes Local Police, Cleveland Is Latest Focus

Erik Eckholm, New York Times, June 18, 2014

As cries of “shots fired” shrieked from police radios, a caravan that grew to 62 patrol cars chased an old blue Malibu through 20 miles of this city’s streets and highways. The vehicle and its two occupants were surrounded in a school lot, and in a disorienting jumble of sirens and strobes, officers fired 137 rounds at close range.

When the shooting stopped that night in November 2012, a man and a woman, both African-American, were dead, riddled with bullets in the car’s front seat. There was no evidence that either had a gun. Investigations suggested that they had set out to purchase crack cocaine in a car that apparently backfired as it passed an officer, and then panicked when the police tried to pull them over.

Late last month, one officer was indicted on manslaughter charges and five supervisors were charged with criminal dereliction of duty.

The Department of Justice has also opened a wide-ranging civil rights investigation that could lead to years of court oversight and mandated controls on the use of force.

It is the latest in a series of sharp federal interventions in police departments across the country, part of an initiative that Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. considers a signature achievement, forcing change and accountability on insular police departments.

“For me, it’s kind of personal,” Mr. Holder said in an interview. In his days as a prosecutor and a judge in Washington, D.C., he recalled, strong criminal cases had crumbled because jurors mistrusted the police.

“Sometimes people think a choice has to be made between lawful, respectful policing and effective policing,” Mr. Holder said. “I think they are mutually dependent.”

The federal investigations are often followed by agreements called consent decrees and years of court monitoring. Even cities that have not come under direct scrutiny have been encouraged to tighten rules for using Tasers and guns, to find better ways to deal with mentally ill suspects and to adopt new technology such as on-officer video cameras.

Some police departments and political leaders have pushed back. Last month, more than 100 officers in Seattle filed a suit to block a court-ordered plan there, saying it imposed unrealistic limits that put police and the public at risk. Some experts have criticized the interventions as overly intrusive and costly.

The federal program was authorized by Congress in 1994 in the shock waves that followed the beating of Rodney King and subsequent riots in Los Angeles. While early cases were begun in cities including Cincinnati, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh, the Justice Department under President George W. Bush put an emphasis on technical assistance to departments rather than on court-ordered changes.

But the Obama administration opened investigations, often leading to court supervision, in about 20 cities. They include New Orleans, where court oversight aims to combat a history of police violence and corruption; Portland, Ore., where the focus is on responses to mentally ill offenders; and Albuquerque, where a string of questionable shootings has caused community outrage.


In many cases, mayors and police chiefs have said they welcome the outside help, which, among other things, can reduce lawsuits.

But in New Orleans, Mayor Mitch Landrieu sought, without success, to get out of a court settlement, saying the city could not afford the projected $55 million required to reconfigure the police and pay a monitor.

The Los Angeles Police Department entered into a consent decree in 2001, after revelations that officers in one district were abusing suspects, tampering with evidence and committing perjury. Members of the force complained bitterly about the outside supervision, which continued for 13 years.


In Cleveland, the leader of the police union called the November 2012 episode a “perfect chase” that protected the public from an apparent danger, but chagrined city officials saw it as a serious breakdown in discipline: Apart from the fusillade of bullets, in which officers fired wildly toward each other across the target car, more than one-third of the city’s on-duty officers joined in the chase, many without permission. The department itself disciplined more than 70 officers and supervisors.


Among black residents, the episode created “a powder keg of anger and frustration,” said the Rev. Jawanza K. Colvin, pastor of the Olivet Institutional Baptist Church.

“We all hear stories in the barber shops, the beauty shops, the basketball courts–stories of police harassment and violence,” Mr. Colvin said in an interview. “When you have an incident like Nov. 29, 2012, it brings all these concerns and anxieties to the fore.”


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  • MekongDelta69

    Instead of “weeding out ‘racism’,” how about “weeding out crime“?

    • MBlanc46

      Because there would be disparate impact.

  • I do think this excessive use of force / militarization of LEAs issue has to be addressed, but it has to be addressed entirely separately from race, because it’s not a racial issue.

    • r j p

      Got to get the AA out of LEAs first.

    • Malgus

      Agreed. I am very concerned with the militarization of our police. I believe the DHS is pre-positioning assets right now, and the DHS/LEO’s are in fact the defacto standing army the Framers warned us about…

      Most people have normalcy bias and cognitive dissonance – they see the cops issuing a beatdown, or a shooting that involves a ridiculous amount of shots fired or multiples of dozens of officers for a relatively small number of Bad Guys (like two) and as long as it’s not happening to them, they’re convinced it will never happen to them. Fact is, it’s ALREADY happening to “us”… and it’s getting worse and more prevalent..

      The militarization of our police is occurring separate and apart from race. The days of the Olde Tyme “Peace Officer” are long gone… they’ve been replaced by a bunch of ‘roided up thugs and sociopaths who are all too eager to take the “free” military grade hardware given away by the DHS. Dress like the military, ape the military, equip them like the military, instill a military mindset and pretty soon, they will believe they ARE a military…

      • r j p

        You are right. They are no longer “police”, they are urban thugs.

  • Tarczan

    Conveniently left out is the fact that the two civil rights activists were cornered in the school parking lot, put the car in gear, and tried running over the police. They were not quietly sitting in a parked car.

    • My, the facts of a case sure have a way of changing once the MSM has a cause to pursue.

    • Pro_Whitey

      And recall that there were four blacks in Rodney King’s car. Three of them got out of the vehicle and got on the ground pursuant to the officers’ instructions, and were not harmed. Hopped up Rodney wanted to tussle, and look how that has been blackwashed.

    • r j p

      Those crazy sons and daughters of Obama (must have been one crazy night at the bathhouse for him to produce either).

  • r j p

    Mr. Holder said in an interview. In his days as a prosecutor and a judge in Washington, D.C., he recalled, strong criminal cases had crumbled because jurors mistrusted the police.

    The same Mr. Holder behind Waco and Ruby Ridge.

    Rev. Jawanza K. Colvin said “We all hear stories in the barber shops, the beauty shops, the basketball courts …..

    Rev. Colvin forgot the liquor store.

  • Frank_DeScushin

    “For me, it’s kind of personal,” Mr. Holder said

    Trust me, Eric, we all know. You’ve made it explicitly clear time and time again that legal matters involving blacks are personal to you. Of course, as the Attorney General you should be applying the law void of emotional attachment. In New America, though, where feelings trump both law and logic and government officials can apply or not apply the law as they please, we would expect nothing less from you, Mr. Holder.

  • dd121

    Back in the ’30s in my little town in the midwest six black males drove into town from St. Louis 75 miles to the south. They gave the sheriff lip and he promptly shot all six dead. It didn’t even get in the paper. Those were more peaceful times.

    • Wholly Unconvinced

      Given how long ago this happened, and “their” proclivity to reproduce like a splitting cell, those 6 dead literally means something like hundreds of them, maybe even upwards of a thousand, which never had the opportunity to rob, rape, kill or abuse us. Truly cause for celebration.

  • I love that Holder is doing this and peeing off the cops in the street. Obama is simultaneously militarizing police departments across the USA by giving them tanks and other military equipment to be used against patriots and WN’s in the coming race war/American Revolution II.

    By peeing off the police, it’s more likely the white officers will join our side, sabotaging equipment that they can’t take with them to join our forces. Some cops will end up dead because of Holder/Obama’s meddling in how to police. Don’t think the cops will forget.
    There might even be some black cops who will join us as payback to Washington.

    This exercise of federal muscle will backfire on the thurd brains who run DC these days. I’m luvin it.

  • So CAL Snowman

    ““We all hear stories in the barber shops, the beauty shops, the
    basketball courts–stories of police harassment and violence,” Mr. Colvin
    said in an interview. “When you have an incident like Nov. 29, 2012, it
    brings all these concerns and anxieties to the fore.””

    You see Mr. Colvin, you africans are a violent, primitive, stone age people and thus “your people” require an incredibly heavy hand and a completely different type of law and order than do Whites to keep you and yours in line. To police africans you have to respond with african like levels of violence. White people do no require this heavy handed law enforcement tactic because we are generally non-violent, law abiding individuals who do what we are asked when instructed by a police officer. Mr. Colvin, your african brothers and sisters consider it “disrespectful” when a police officer stops them in the commission of a crime and they react violently. African behavior forces the police to react with violence.

    • Einsatzgrenadier

      This is the logic of segregation, one of the few policies ever established and enforced by American officials that was actually informed by the realities of human nature. Integration was based on the idea that human nature was infinitely malleable and could be socially constructed to make it conform to some utopian vision of man. As such, it was a miserable failure. Needless to say, any rigorous logical analysis of what implications arise from the existence of black-white race differences always, always takes us back to the good old-fashioned wisdom of the old-time southern racialists.

    • Many cops would not quite phrase it the way you have (although I love it!), in principle, though, they would agree with you. Blacks and Hispanics, generally, need a stronger hand applied to them because of their criminal and violent proclivities. It’s the way things are, though it may be upsetting to some soft-minded persons.

      Whites and Asians, in most cases by far, don’t have to be treated in the manner that blacks and Hispanics do because they are generally peaceful and compliant in nature. They are law-abiding and not easily provoked and angered when confronted by authority.

    • Dave West

      A lot of blacks also see much of standard police procedure as discrimination. If a policemen asks a white person to step out of the car they usually comply without incident. If this happens with black people many times they make a big deal, “whut I do,” “whut I do.” Or they try to play the amateur lawyer, of course, they never have any idea what their talking about. “why didn’ you read me my rights yet?” This almost always leads to a resisting arrest charge, this is one reason why blacks sometimes receive harsher punishment than whites for the “same” crimes.

  • Truth Teller

    All and I do mean all the Los Angeles police who were tampering with evidence, abusing suspects and spending their shifts in f**k pads were black and hispanic. Even the Los Angeles Slimes ran articles blaming the fact that so many affirmative action OFEs and hispanics were let into LAPD with felony records, bad credit histories and unable to pass the written exam without adding points enough to achieve passing scores on the Rampart scandal.
    Liberals, not just black, but White liberals especially judges want the blacks to rampage, rape,rob and murder Whites with impunity. Holder’s and the liberals next step is probably to abolish the District attorney’s offices nation wide. Then no black would be charged with a crime. The DOJ has already forced the State of California to release thousands of felons from the state prisons.

  • dcc2379

    The real purpose, like importing millions of people, is to destroy the last vestiges of white civilization. Probably 100 million whites are co-conspirators in their own genocide. They just don’t know it yet.

  • IKUredux

    Maybe if you started hearing the stories in the manufacturing companies you owned, or the restaurants and gas stations, people would be more likely to hear you out. Oh, wait, if you naggers were actually smart enough to start enterprises like the aforementioned, then none of the stuff happening to you would exist. Seriously? Basketball courts? That’s one of your references as to where blacks are most likely to congregate? Unfortunately, you are correct. However, since we know no global businesses are being planned on basketball courts, or, technological advances either, we Whites have to act on the FACTS as they currently exist. And, sadly, for your race, will continue to exist for the next fifty thousand years.

  • 4321realist


  • AndrewInterrupted

    They need tailpipe backfire sensitivity training.

    • LHathaway

      It was a banana in the tail-pipe.

  • Puggg

    I really take the prevailing opinions found on black basketball courts and at black barber shops and beauty spots (what, no nail salons, weave shops, liquor stores?) as gospel truth.

    But if the Department of Justice is so interested in local departments, I’ve got a sheriff they can look into.

    • LHathaway

      Talk inside black barbershops is insane. It’s similar to the most militant and anti-reality talk found on AmRen. The difference is it seems to be all of them and not a small number who support alternative politics. They seem to believe it and few to none dissent.

  • Hallie Eva

    Holder said: In his days as a prosecutor and a judge in Washington, D.C., he
    recalled, strong criminal cases had crumbled because jurors mistrusted
    the police.

    According to a publication out some time ago, D.C. blacks are notorious jury nullifiers, especially female black jurors who claim:, “too many of our black boys are sent to prison.”
    Nothing whatsoever to do with the crime committed, or punishment deserved. It is all about unjust racist based persecution of their “babies.” Shameless, but typical twisted black logic.
    B.O. and Eric, both Afro, suffer from the same paucity of rational thought.

  • Pro_Whitey

    You poor black dears! Here, let us pay for your passage back to Africa, at no cost to you except renouncing your U.S. citizenship. And isn’t that what you want to do anyway?

  • Alexandra1973

    Excessive amount of police cars? On a more humorous note, sounds like Ohio.

    Back in the 80s my husband was working third shift at a Hardee’s, and it was pretty dead at 4 Sunday morning. Next door some cops had pulled over a drunk driver, and before it was over, there were close to 20 cars–some local, some Wayne County, and some Ohio state troopers. I guess they were having fun making the poor sod try to walk some line.

    They were probably all bored.

    • r j p

      I had a similar experience in Wyoming a long time ago.
      I was totaled. Five police cars pulled me over.
      Turned out it was nothing more than a traffic ticket.


    Notice the Justice Dept. treats Cleveland differently than it treats NYC. Special rules for the 1% elite’s body guards.

  • adplatt126

    It’s “personal” for Holder. No sh*t, every time a black person is killed by a white person it’s personal for a black panther like our AG. When a black person kills a black person on the other hand (which is far more frequent), a racist white society forced his hand and is really to blame.