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May 26, 2015  

Why the Justice Department Deserves A No-Confidence Vote

The U.S. Department of Justice—an agency specializing in recent years in negotiated settlements with criminal enterprises, including several police departments—has chalked up yet another “victory” for “police reform.”

The DOJ is expected to announce today that the City of Cleveland has agreed to remedy a pattern of civil rights violations and use of excessive force long associated with its police department. The settlement comes after the contentious acquittal Saturday (May 23) of Officer Michael Brelo, who fired 49 of 137 shots at Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams on Nov. 29, 2012. Russell’s car had backfired as he drove past a police station and as many as 62 police vehicles chased after him for 22 miles, ending in the carnage in which Brelo fired the final 15 shots.

The DOJ-City of Cleveland détente stems from an 18-month probe the department undertook at the request of Mayor Frank G. Jackson. Last December, the DOJ issued a “scathing” report confirming that “Cleveland police officers engage in a pattern or practice of unreasonable and in some cases unnecessary force.” But no heads rolled, no one was prosecuted, no one was convicted and sent to prison.

Leid Stories explains why the Justice Department deserves a no-confidence vote.

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