Cleveland Safety Director McGrath answers critics

CLEVELAND -- Safety Director and Former Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath is in the center of a firestorm.

Critics are calling on him and former Safety Director, now Mayoral Assistant, Marty Flask to resign in the wake of a damning Justice Department report that found serious problems with police training, investigations, discipline and accountability for using excessive force on their watch.

McGrath says he serves at the pleasure of Mayor Jackson and wants to convince critics he can be part of constructive changes.

He says, "I don't believe (the report) is fair."

He claims wording makes it seem like many officers are guilty of abuse and ignores statistics showing a decline in use of force over the last 8 years.

McGrath acknowledges this situation is taking a personal toll.

"I go home and my wife is crying and that hurts," he says.

And he is also concerned that all the residents he had contact with in 41 years on the department will think he ignored serious problems in his tenure as chief.

In fact, McGrath was among those seeking the DOJ investigations.

Critics says old leaders cannot be trusted to make needed changes, when many issues from a previous DOJ report were not resolved.

McGrath said he did not recall ever being personally interviewed for the DOJ report.

McGrath and Mayor Jackson are expected to have more comments about the report later this week.

Meantime, a "Call and Post" editorial calling for city hall changes is expected tomorrow. And a letter to the mayor demanding McGrath and Flask go is expected to be delivered soon.


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