Mayor Frank G. Jackson sat down with members of the media on Thursday to discuss concerns and answer questions in the wake of the recent Department of Justice report released just a week ago.
Mayor Jackson began by emphasizing that the city welcomes the findings of the Department of Justice and will embrace the opportunity to correct problems within the Division of Police. The Mayor went on to explain that he had previously asked for the Department of Justice investigation back in December of 2012 in addition to working with a private consultant to review the Division’s Use of Force Policies.
The Mayor emphasized that the city and police will work towards an agreement over a consent decree with an independent monitor in place; however, he reiterated that the focusing solely on the Cleveland Police is inadequate when addressing the problems outlined in the Department of Justice report.
“My concern is that the report does not go far enough,” said Mayor Jackson. “There are problems in the Division of Police that we need to address, but there are also external factors that have a great impact upon how things happen internally. The report does not address those factors.”
Mayor Jackson also explained his long-committed stance that the term “systemic failure” is one that lacks accountability. “The Department of Justice report shows that there are problems within the Division of Police – and we will negotiate a consent decree to fix those problems and establish an independent monitor to ensure what we negotiate becomes fully implemented. However, to say that there is a systematic failure in the Division implies that people are not personally accountable for their actions.” My administration will hold people accountable for those actions.”
Finally, Mayor Jackson commended recent demonstrators in and around the city. “I want to commend the demonstrators for their sincerity and commitment to this issue. They are firm in their belief over what is right and wrong. They have not lost sight of the substance and sincerity of their issues. I respect that and the way they have conducted themselves.”
View the full press conference here: