Cleveland leaders respond to Attorney General Sessions' consent decree review

Cleveland consent decree could be eliminated

Cleveland -- The Cleveland police consent decree, designed to bring sweeping changes to the department, could be put under the knife.

The Washington Post was first to report that the Trump administration has ordered a review of the Cleveland deal and all police reform agreements made during the Obama administration.

In 2015 the federal government came cracking down on the City of Cleveland and its police department, saying that for years officers too hastily used excessive force, were improperly trained, and bosses failed to investigate and discipline officers who used excessive force.  A massive change, the feds said, was needed.  And so, what’s called a Consent Decree was imposed...

Dozens of rules and procedures were put on the books, community panels weighed in, federal judges signed off on them.

The consent decree set out to make Cleveland police more accountable, better trained, more engaged and use less force.

It was ordered by the feds two years ago, and put in motion.

Tonight, new US Attorney General Jeff Sessions says there needs to be a review of a laundry list of items, including a review of all existing consent decrees in this country.  More than a dozen cities have them.
The mission, Sessions says, is to strengthen long-standing relationships with police to ensure public safety.  No word on what kind of changes may come from that review.

Two very different points of view weighing in tonight.

The head of the local NAACP Michael Nelson says: "The Cleveland community  in general and people of color in particular should be especially concerned in light of our police departments long history of abusing its authority and using excessive force including the killing of unarmed men, women and children. 
Any rollback of the Cleveland consent decree would signal to police officers that it's all right to violate the civil rights of those they are sworn to protect and serve.”

The head of the Cleveland police union Steve Loomis saying: "We look forward to the results of Attorney General Sessions review and opinion concerning the very costly and largely ineffective consent decrees which have been forced upon cash strapped cities by the Obama Administration, Cleveland included."
 

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