The federal surveillance team that this week oversaw the Cleveland City Consent Decree with the DOJ released a report of police action in Cleveland during George Floyd’s downtown protest on May 30 that found the division in small and had failed in a great way.
Published yesterday, details were reported on site for the first time Cleveland.com. (The full report is embedded below.)
The city released one in December internal follow-up report That is, while the officers suffered from a lack of training, the police acted in good faith that day, blaming the protesters for the increase in tension and violence. Self-examining, the scope of the city’s review was also limited, focusing on policies and procedures in the aftermath, rather than focusing on why and how the protests turned into violence. Much of this comes from the police forceand how the police could have reacted differently.
The monitor’s report not only addresses areas that were entirely omitted from the city’s review, but also provides a fix for those of Mayor Frank Jackson and Chef Calvin Williams throughout 2020. (Though it emphatically agreed on one facet: that the department exhibited a notable lack of planning and tactical preparation for the protest, including absolutely botching their estimates of how many people would participate even as protests the previous week attracted thousands across the country.)
The use of force by officials was not covered in detail and barely mentioned in the city’s internal review. She was advised that 19 complaints had been filed with the Home Affairs Department and the Office of Professional Standards.
However, the monitor revealed that the use of violence was well above what the city originally disclosed: 29 officers filed reports of the use of violence, although the monitor found that much of them were filed months after the crime and one officer was videotaped, didn’t file a report at all. Some of the complaints filed with the Professional Standards and Home Affairs Bureau have been substantiated, while others have been dismissed or are still under investigation. At least one lawsuit, submitted by a peaceful protester who was sprayed with pepper by a Cleveland police officer, completely unprovoked, persists. (These are separate from and from those in which they are involved by suburban SWAT departments called in to support this day Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department MPs, one of whom hit a photographer in the eye with a beanbag chair. He’s lost his eye.)
While the surveillance team confirmed reports from officials that protesters threw objects at them throughout the trial, it did not provide details and did not attempt to assess whether the officials’ responses were appropriate.
In general, however, the Monitor criticized the city’s entire process of documenting and reviewing the use of force during the protest, from suspicion that the department was conducting reviews outside of normal protocol to the speed at which certain cases were reviewed and dismissed were. The various bugs identified, the monitoring team wrote, had similarities to the bugs that put Cleveland under a consent decree in the first place.
In addition, the monitor confirmed what had long been clear based on news articles and first-hand reports, noting that police were using tear gas and before the intervention of protesters live ammunition. Not only were the orders not loud enough for most protesters, let alone nearby police officers, to hear, but police waited just four minutes after the initial announcement to begin lightning grenades and other tactics against protesters who did the The area had not yet left the judicial center.
However, it has proven impossible to reconstruct the day’s entire events to identify problematic interactions or reconcile allegations since so many Cleveland police officers did not wear body cameras that day, the monitor wrote. Bulky SWAT gear and suits made it impossible for officers to wear cams as well.
For what it’s worth, the city’s follow-up report called for not fewer weapons and equipment in the future, but more.
Chief Williams claimed in a virtual press conference in December that the widespread property damage and looting that occurred in the post-protest riots along and around Euclid Ave. areas where little or no police were present will not be entirely prevented could even if all 1,600 Cleveland cops were on the payroll downtown.
However, he conceded that more officials and better planning could have had a better impact on controlling crowds and preventing damage to downtown businesses.
The full 129-page report is below. (Mobile users may need to switch to desktop view to read.)