TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department said Thursday it will open a wide-ranging civil rights investigation into the use of force by Cleveland’s police department, whose officers fired 137 shots at the end of a massive police chase last fall, killing two likely unarmed people.
Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez said the investigation will look beyond the November car chase that involved more than 60 patrol cars and ended in the shootings of Timothy Russell, 43, and his 30-year-old passenger, Malissa Williams.
Perez said the probe will not be a criminal investigation; its focus is the entire department, not individual officers. It will analyze several years of excessive force claims as well as police policies, training and procedures, he said.
“We go into this with no preconceived notions,” Perez said at a news conference in Cleveland.
City leaders had asked the federal government to review Cleveland police division policies after that chase, which raised questions about the conduct of officers. But Perez said there was not one tipping point that led to the wider investigation.
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said he welcomed the expanded investigation. “It is vital that there is a level of trust between police and the community,” he said.
Relations have been strained between Cleveland police and some community leaders since the chaotic police chase ended with 13 officers firing on the car.
Russell and Williams were each shot more than 20 times. Some officers thought they were armed, but no weapon or shell casings were found.
The chase went through residential neighborhoods and onto a freeway before ending behind a school in neighboring East Cleveland. It reached 100 mph and covered 25 miles over 22 minutes.
Ohio’s attorney general conducted a separate investigation and said leadership and communications failures led to the escalation of the Nov. 29 chase. The report did not assign blame on any of the officers and concluded crossfire led some officers to believe they were in a shootout with the vehicle’s occupants.
A grand jury will likely determine if any of the officers should face criminal charges.
Some community leaders called the shootings racially motivated because Russell and Williams were black.
A police union attorney has said race had nothing to do with the shooting and said it would be found to be justified because, he said, the driver of the car tried to run over several police officers and intentionally rammed other patrol cars.
U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach said Thursday there is a great deal of respect for the officers and department leaders.
“That does not mean there aren’t areas where there might be room for improvement,” he said.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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