The city of Cleveland has agreed to an as yet undisclosed settlement for its alleged history of racially biased and unlawful police practices, according to a report from The New York Times published Monday.
The Times reports that the settlement, which was reached in coordination with the Justice Department, could be unveiled as early as Tuesday. It is expected to include reform initiatives to be overseen by independent entities which will most likely be backed by court orders.
This news come amid renewed scrutiny of policing not just in Cleveland, but nationwide. Just this week, tense protests erupted in Cleveland when local police officer Michael Brelo was acquitted of manslaughter in the deaths of two unarmed African-Americans, Timothy Russell, 43, and Malissa Williams, 30. Brelo remains suspended without pay and still faces administrative charges.
According to authorities, after a 22-mile car chase, Brelo and a dozen other officers fired 137 shots at a car with Williams and Russell inside it after the car backfired while driving past police headquarters. Police mistakenly believed they heard a gun going off in the car. Brelo had fired 49 of the 137 shots as he mounted the hood of Russell’s car.
Earlier this year, 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot and killed at a local park by Cleveland officers who mistook his toy gun for the real thing. Residents of the city are still waiting to see the outcome of the investigation in that case.
Meanwhile, the city’s mayor, Frank Jackson, currently faces a recall petition from local activists who, among other things, feel that he has not done enough to crack down on excessive force by police.
“This is a moment that will define us as a city, define us as a people as we move forward and address not only the issues around this verdict,” Jackson said last Saturday following the Brelo verdict. According to the Times, he has been working to develop police reforms in partnership with the Justice Department.
Additional reporting by Aliyah Frumin