Police departments not already under federal oversight to reduce deadly force by officers are pursuing reforms on their own in response to growing criticism that police use too much force too often, reported the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice civil rights division announced it found a pattern of “unreasonable and unnecessary use of force” by the Cleveland police, whose officers it said used guns, Tasers, pepper spray and their fists excessively, unnecessarily and in retaliation. The investigation was underway two years before the fatal shooting Nov. 22 of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was waving a toy gun in a park.
Cleveland will become one of nine U.S. cities to enter a consent decree with the civil rights division — a court-backed agreement to enact wide policy changes. That list includes Seattle, New Orleans and Albuquerque, N.M. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s comment that Ferguson police need “wholesale change” suggests they will join the list when the Justice Department’s civil rights investigation is complete.
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