Shutdown delays investigation into deadly police chase

6:13 PM, Oct 9, 2013   |    comments
Photo from the night of the police-involved shooting in which two people were killed.
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CLEVELAND -- It's been nearly one year since Cleveland police opened fire on two unarmed people in East Cleveland, killing both of them.

And now, while the community is calling for action and justice, the government shutdown may be causing a delay into the investigation on the use of excessive force.

The investigation has been moving forward on a lot of levels.

Since the shooting, Cleveland police have fired a sergeant, demoted two supervisors and disciplined nine others for their involvement.

However, the government shutdown is affecting all civil cases across the country, including the local investigation into the Cleveland Police Department's use of excessive force.

This is what happened back on Nov. 29, 2012, during a police pursuit started downtown:

It ended in East Cleveland when police officers opened fire on the suspects, killing them both.

Attorneys from the Department of Justice were then asked to come to Cleveland to investigate the department's possible use of excessive force.

Right now, local experts and lawyers and those from the Civil Rights Division in Washington, D.C., are working on this case.

And during this government shutdown, on any given day, the vast majority of the local attorneys who are working on this case are not in the office.

And any of those out-of-town lawyers or experts who were furloughed are either not working or are not allowed to travel to Cleveland.

It's a frustrating development for local attorneys and for the entire community.

"The majority of resources brought to bear on this case cannot be at their desk, or in the field, or meeting with victims and witnesses, or doing any of the things they have to do to evaluate the evidence," says U.S. Attorney Steve Dettelbach.

"We had placed a lot of hope in what the Department of Justice would be able to accomplish in their investigation, and this government shutdown has confounded that. We need them to be able to do their jobs," added Sheila Wright, Ohio NAACP Director.

Also important to note, of the local attorneys who are still at work right now, they are coming in every day not knowing when or if they will get paid.

Dettelbach tells Channel 3 he hopes this shutdown won't affect the outcome of this case, but it certainly is affecting the ability to proceed.


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