Cleveland submits use-of-force policy to judge for approval


CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland has submitted a revised use-of-force policy to the federal judge overseeing an agreement on reforming the city’s police department.

Changing how Cleveland officers use lethal and non-lethal force is a key element in the agreement between the city and the U.S. Department of Justice. The policy was submitted Wednesday to U.S. District Judge Solomon Oliver Jr. for his approval.

The city and DOJ agreed to a court-monitored consent decree in May 2015, after a DOJ investigation found a pattern and practice of officers using excessive force and violating people’s civil rights.

Officers are expected to begin training on the new policy early next year.

One of the key changes in the revised policy calls for officers to use de-escalation techniques to avoid having to use force.

Cleveland police have repeatedly ended up in the national spotlight because of deadly use of force in recent years. Among the most publicized cases were the fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice two years ago, and a 137-shot barrage that killed two unarmed black people after a high-speed chase in November 2012.

Rice had been playing with a pellet gun when he was shot by a patrolman outside a recreation center. The officer was cleared of criminal wrongdoing, and the city settled a federal lawsuit with the family.

In the chase case, six officers who were fired have sought to get their jobs back through grievances filed by the police union.

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