Wide-ranging Cleveland Police administrative review of November 29th police pursuit compares officer actions to policies

Chief McGrath initiates review of individual officer actions to determine appropriate disciplinary action, where warranted

The administrative review of the November 29, 2012 pursuit that ended in East Cleveland is substantially complete, providing an in-depth look at the actions officers and their immediate supervisors took during the chase. Those actions were compared to the Division of Police’s policies and procedures to determine compliance and provide information to Police Chief Michael McGrath, who now will determine what, if any, disciplinary action should be taken.

Mayor Jackson addresses members of the media during a press conference on the November 29th police incident.

Mayor Jackson addresses members of the media during a press conference on the November 29th police incident.

Overall, the majority of officers and supervisors who were on duty during the pursuit on November 29, 2012 followed policies and procedures. However, the evidence presented by the committee indicates that there were infractions relative to some officers and supervisors who were engaged in the pursuit.

“This review was conducted to provide a clear picture of what took place during the pursuit and to help us determine whether officers and supervisors acted appropriately,” said Mayor Frank G. Jackson at a media briefing today. “Because the review committee did a thorough job, we now have a better picture of what took place during the pursuit, and Chief McGrath can proceed with determining whether individual officers will face discipline as a result of the actions they took that night.”

Chief McGrath assembled a review committee, led by Police Special Investigations Commander James Chura, to gather all available data, written reports, and audio/video recordings related to the pursuit, as well as review the investigative file released by the Attorney General in February and conduct interviews of the officers who took part in the pursuit.

“In the hours and days after the November 29th incident, we made a commitment to answer the questions raised regarding the conduct of police officers during the pursuit and the level of guidance they received from their supervisors,” said Public Safety Director Martin L. Flask. “This review helps answer those questions.”

  • The committee identified the whereabouts of all 322 officers on duty the night of November 29th.
  • Of those on duty, 98 officers and 15 supervisors had some role in the pursuit action. Some but not all of those officers and supervisors face administrative action.
  • The committee conducted 159 interviews of officers, supervisors and dispatchers.
  • The 13 officers who were involved in the use of deadly force at the end of the pursuit were not interviewed. The administrative review of those 13 officers, both for the pursuit and the use of deadly force will take place after the County Prosecutor completes the criminal investigation.
Police Chief Michael McGrath addresses members of the media during a press conference on the November 29th police incident.

Police Chief Michael McGrath addresses members of the media during a press conference on the November 29th police incident.

The review committee has turned over its findings to the Division of Police Integrity Control section to complete the reports on individual officers. Those reports are being delivered to Chief McGrath for final review and determination of disciplinary action. When warranted, disciplinary hearings will be conducted during the coming weeks.

“Incidents like the pursuit that occurred on November 29th affect our community as a whole, the officers involved and the entire Division of Police,” said Chief McGrath. “While the process of helping our community move forward is far from over, this review helps put us on that path. It was thorough and the results are fair. Where we found policy and rule violations, we will hold officers accountable. Where we found compliance, the officers should be commended for fulfilling their responsibilities, despite the intensity of the pursuit.”

N.B. This review did not focus on the use of deadly force that occurred at the end of the pursuit. The criminal investigation regarding the use of deadly force was conducted by the State Bureau of Criminal Investigation and turned over by the state Attorney General to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office on February 5, 2013. Any questions regarding the potential for criminal charges should be directed to the county prosecutor’s office. Once the criminal investigation is closed, the Cleveland Division of Police will conduct an administrative review of the use of deadly force to determine whether there were any policy violations and if any discipline is warranted.

View the presentation and other findings here

About Daniel Williams

City of Cleveland, Ohio, Director of Media Relations

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