Cleveland | DOJ report puts pressure on Mayor Jackson

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Now that the Department of Justice has documented major problems and abuses in Cleveland's Police Department and its use of force, the pressure is focused on the one person who has the last word in what changes will be made.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said, "I don't shirk that responsibility or accountability. It always starts with me."

Jackson can expect to get a letter early next week signed by a coalition of ministers, activists and community leaders.

It will make demands, chief among them that Jackson remove Safety Director Michael McGrath and Executive Assistant for Safety Issues Marty Flask.

Director and former Police Chief McGrath and Executive Assistant and former Safety Director and former Police Chief Flask had oversight of the Police Department during the span the Justice Department found top-to-bottom problems in training, accountability and discipline.

Michael Nelson, co-chair of the NAACP Criminal Justice Committee, said, "We cannot have the same people in charge who have been presiding over the Police Department the last 10, 15 or 20 years. The culture doesn't change."

The Call and Post newspaper is expected to have an editorial making similar demands and asking the mayor to make tough but needed decisions.

On Thursday Jackson gave McGrath another vote of confidence at the press conference about the Department of Justice report.

He had promoted McGrath to safety director in February 2014 after the November 2012 crosstown chase and shooting of unarmed suspects Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams.

"He's the right person at that time. And he's the right man now and I do not regret it," Jackson said.

The mayor is pledging to work with the feds and the community to decide on what will be in a consent decree requiring changes.

"We will enter into discussion with the Department of Justice as to how we correct those problems we agree on that are really problems," he said.


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