Excessive Force On Decline

Mayor Frank Jackson speaking with reporters Friday.
Mayor Frank Jackson speaking with reporters Friday.

In the Mayor's view, the Justice Department's findings last fall of a "pattern of abuse" by police overshadowed the city's progress. In an hour-long power-point presentation to reporters Jackson elaborated on a statistical analysis of police reports the city recently compiled. It shows use of lethal and non-lethal force by Cleveland police has been cut in half since 2006 when he took first office. Use of pepper spray, bodily force or a deadly weapon were all down dramatically. "Which means," Jackson said, "the things that we were doing, the policies changes we were making, the things we put in place and the transparency and accountability that we were actually had some results." He detailed multiple changes the police department has put in place in recent years. "The point I'm making is we were not wasting our time; we weren't sitting on our hands; we were not unaware of the need for reform," Jackson said.

Jackson said among the additional steps he's considering is "crisis intervention training" for all officers so they can better handle encounters with people in the midst of "a mental episode," as the Mayor put it. Also, under discussion is mandatory first aid training and protocols for police to treat injured partners, victims or suspects until medical help arrives - something that police failed to do in the November shooting of 12-year old Tamir Rice. The city is now in negotiations with the Justice Department over exactly what further changes are needed.

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