TIME Crime

Los Angeles Police to Launch Largest Body Cam Program in U.S.

County of Los Angeles Sheriff's Lt. Chris Marks poses wearing the Taser Axon Flex, on-officer camera system attached to glasses in Monterey Park on Sept. 17, 2014.
Jay L. Clendenin—Los Angeles Times/Getty Images County of Los Angeles Sheriff's Lt. Chris Marks poses wearing the Taser Axon Flex, on-officer camera system attached to glasses in Monterey Park on Sept. 17, 2014.

The first of 7,000 cams will be deployed next week

The Los Angeles Police Department will begin rolling out body cameras next month, the first stage of a program that will eventually become the largest in the U.S.

The LAPD, which has been studying the technology for two years, will begin introducing the first batch of a total of 7,000 cameras next week, according to the LA Times. The first 860 cameras, paid for by private donations of around $1.5 million, will be gradually deployed over the next month. The program will make the police department the biggest law enforcement agency to widely adopt the technology.

About 7,000 police agencies currently use body cameras around the U.S., with many adopting them over the last year as a means of providing transparency and accountability as scrutiny of police tactics and the use of force has increased. Body cameras have routinely been a topic of discussion among protesters concerned about police misconduct.

While many welcome the growing use of body cameras by police departments, the ACLU says it’s opposed to it in Los Angeles, as LAPD policy states that the department will only release recordings publicly if they’re involved in court proceedings.

TIME society

Law Enforcement Should Learn To Recognize the Signs of Mental Illness

The Crisis Intervention Training teaches how to address mental illness matters in a health-oriented rather than enforcement manner

The untimely death of Sandra Bland in a rural Texas jail last month has led to many unanswered questions.

Texas prison authorities say Bland hanged herself with a plastic garbage bag in her cell, a claim her family has questioned. Many suspect that Bland was murdered by corrupt law enforcement officials or correctional officers.

Lost in the emotion of yet another tragic death of a young African American in police custody is the real possibility that untreated mental illness led to Sandra Bland’s death.

Regardless of what happened in that Texas jail, Centers for Disease Control data tell us that rates of suicide have seen a steady increase each year since 2000. Suicide is now the 10th leading cause of death among all Americans.

And, while African Americans have lower suicide rates relative to whites, the rate of suicide among African-American males and females has also been climbing each year since 2009.

As a mental health services researcher, I’ve spent years examining factors that prevent vulnerable youth from getting mental health services. My work as a psychotherapist has involved treating folks suffering from depression – folks like Sandra Bland who told police she had tried to commit suicide last year.

The importance of the social network

Sociologist Bernice Pescosolido suggests that mentally ill individuals don’t decide about getting treatment in a vacuum. Those closest to the individual are critical to facilitating entree into care, providing care or doing nothing.

Through my work, I have seen how serious mental illness such as chronic depression or bipolarity can wreak havoc on not just the ill individual, but also on their families and friends. In a sick individual’s social networks, accusations fly. Loved ones duck for cover or they hold back for fear of offending. At this unstable and vulnerable juncture, finding a way to treatment is difficult and staying in treatment is even tougher.

Depression is one of the most debilitating health issues anyone can experience. It is a leading cause of engagement in suicidal behaviors – a precursor, of sorts, to suicide.

At the same time, depression is one of the most successfully treated mental illnesses. Both talk therapies and psychotropic medications are replete with evidence of their successes in the treatment of depression.

The problem is that not enough people with depression actually receive treatment. The numbers vary widely by age and race. Approximately one third of youth with depression receive treatment. That number increases slightly – to about one half – for 20-somethings like Sandra Bland. The lack of care is even more disproportionate in ethnic minority communities relative to white communities. African Americans, Latino Americans and Asian Americans all have lower treatment rates.

My own research indicates these groups are also likely to have greater connections to their families and friends, who pray with them about their condition or offer advice. This might help explain their overall lower rates of suicide relative to whites.

Responsibility of law enforcement

While it is critical for social network members to both see and do something to help their loved ones get connected to treatment, it is equally critical for law enforcement to be trained on how to successfully address interactions with the mentally ill.

Imagine for a moment what would have happened if Sandra Bland had been pulled over by a police officer who was trained to recognize if she was suffering from a mental illness that required immediate attention. Imagine a police officer having the skills to engage Bland – or many others much like her – in a process of recovery.

That novel notion is being carried out by Dr Michael Compton and others who implement the Crisis Intervention Training, a program that trains law enforcement officials on the signs and symptoms of mental illness and how to address these matters in a health-oriented rather than enforcement manner. This program has helped police redirect countless individuals into mental health treatment instead of jails. Indeed, successful CIT programs have emerged all over the country, including in Memphis and Chicago.

The circumstances surrounding Sandra Bland’s death remain unclear. But many who are struggling with a mental illness surround us. Paying attention to the signs and having true engagement with the presenting behaviors can save lives.

This article originally appeared on The ConversationThe Conversation

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME society

Policing My Hometown Is a Labor of Love

Zocalo Public Square is a not-for-profit Ideas Exchange that blends live events and humanities journalism.

A California deputy chief explains the challenges of protecting the city he grew up in

We hear a lot these days about rifts between police and the communities they serve, especially in communities of color. I come from both worlds: I am a deputy police chief in my hometown of Salinas.

You read a lot about crime in East Salinas, but I’m proud to have grown up there. The city was different and smaller (about 80,000 vs. 155,000 today) when I was a kid. My family was typical; on both sides, I had grandparents from Mexico who came here to work in fields and packing sheds.

My schools—Fremont Elementary and El Sausal Middle—had an assigned police officer (an early version of today’s school resource officers). I made friends with those officers. Those relationships—and the fact I had strict parents whose rules kept me away from drugs and gangs—led me to consider law enforcement as a career.

After high school, I enrolled at Hartnell Junior College. The college had a campus safety program run by the Salinas Police Department; I enrolled in classes and patrolled the college, providing security services and parking enforcement. Before I graduated, I became a reserve deputy with the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department.

After Hartnell, I was accepted to Fresno State but put my education on hold to pursue my career. I applied for jobs with the sheriff’s department and the Salinas police. The sheriff’s department offered me a job first, so I took it. After the academy and training, I worked in the King City substation, but I wanted to come home and work out of the Salinas station, which serves unincorporated areas like Castroville and Prunedale.

After time on patrol, I took a job as an investigator in the sheriff’s coroner division. I felt the pull of Salinas. I applied with the police department and was hired. I’ve done a number of different jobs—training officer, SWAT, detective, the gang unit—and found time to complete bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Over the next 20 plus years, I was promoted to sergeant, lieutenant, commander, and then, in 2013, I became one of two deputy police chiefs.

I work at staying grounded in the community. I’ve been on the board of directors of three local nonprofits—our own Police Activities League, Second Chance Youth & Family Services, and Sun Street Centers, a drug and alcohol abuse program.

The Salinas crime picture is complicated. Start with socioeconomic disadvantages, absentee parents, educational challenges, then add in the glamorization of gang lifestyles in music and movies, and the intrinsic desire of kids to belong to something. The gangs are better armed than they used to be, and the prison gang and drug cartel influences have made the problem even more challenging.

While the problem is real, the perception of violent crime in East Salinas has been overstated. Gangsters are a small number of people here. Most people are honest and hardworking and want a safe place to live, work, and raise a family.

In the police department, we are trying to use technology to work smarter and target the most violent individuals. The days of just driving around and trying to arrest gangsters are over. We rely on intelligence and statistical analysis to identify troublemakers. We combine that with place-based policing, as part of our overall violence reduction strategy.

This worked particularly well in the neighborhood of Hebbron, where two officers took care of quality-of-life issues and really got to know the people there.

Unfortunately, we had to temporarily shut down our place-based policing program—and all our other special units. We are more than 30 officers below our budgeted force. The attrition and retirement rates have been outpacing our hiring efforts.

Police recruitment and staffing are problems everywhere—and the recent media coverage of alleged police misconduct is not helping matters—but Salinas has special challenges. We’re just an hour’s drive from Silicon Valley, where police recruits can make three times the salary and not have to put their lives on the line.

I see hope in the improvements people are making in neighborhoods, the work that planners are doing to attract small businesses, the investment by Taylor Farms in its new headquarters downtown. If we can make Salinas peaceful and safer, the future could be very bright.

Right now, we’re focused on the fundamentals—and on building our ranks. We have 13 people in the academy and need more. Our goal is to better reflect the community we serve. We even have a grant for eight school-based police officers, and I’d love to have the people to staff it. I know firsthand the impact even one officer in one school can make on a kid in Salinas.

Dan Perez is a 30-year veteran of local law enforcement. He is the married father of three who enjoys photography and travel in his spare time. This essay is part of Salinas: California’s Richest Poor City, a special project of Zócalo Public Square and The California Wellness Foundation

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Terrorism

Could Twitter and Facebook Stop the Next Terrorist Attack?

Social Media Illustrations
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Legislation would require them to alert law enforcement of possible attacks

Tech firms such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Yahoo are fighting another battle in Washington of late, this time to resist pending legislation that would require them to alert law enforcement of possible terrorist attacks, according to a report from the Associated Press.

The legislation, which has been proposed as a part of a larger intelligence bill, is now under review by the Senate Intelligence Committee. It’s inspired by the fact that terrorist groups such as the so-called Islamic State have increasingly used social media to recruit and disseminate propaganda. Nevertheless, the tech firms feel that the language in the proposed bill is too broad, and “would potentially put companies on the hook legally if they miss a tweet, video or blog that hints of an attack,” the AP said.

The firms have also reportedly said in private meetings that they are already doing their part by banning “grisly content like beheadings and [alerting] law enforcement if they suspect someone might get hurt, as soon as they are aware of a threat.”

TIME cybersecurity

Arrests Made in Connection With JPMorgan Hack, Report Says

JPMorgan Chase & Co. Headquarters Ahead of Earnings
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Law enforcement officials have apprehended four out of five suspects tied to the bank's massive hack last summer

Law enforcement authorities have arrested four people in connection with last summer’s hacking of JPMorgan Chase, Bloomberg reports.

Law enforcement officials have apprehended four people—including two college friends who are graduates of Florida State University—involved in “a complex securities fraud scheme” that has been connected to the data breach, Bloomberg said. A fifth person remains at large.

Two Israeli men, Gery Shalon and Ziv Orenstein, as well as a U.S. citizen Joshua S. Aaron are among those charged with participating in a pump-and-dump plot, the report said. They allegedly used bulk emails and pre-planned trading to boost certain stock prices to their benefit.

The grand jury indictment, unsealed in Manhattan on Tuesday, according to Bloomberg, revealed that at least five stocks were manipulated in years past.

The JPMorgan data breach last summer compromised the personal information of 83 million individuals and small businesses. Following the breach, JPMorgan’s CEO Jamie Dimon said he would increase the bank’s investment in cybersecurity. A March New York Times story had hinted that investigators were getting close to making arrests.

For more information, read the developing story on Bloomberg.

TIME Crime

Everything We Know About the Sandra Bland Case

Dashcam video shows confrontation with officer

A Texas prosecutor on Thursday cited as-yet-unreleased autopsy findings to confirm that Sandra Bland, the 28-year-old woman who was arrested in a routine traffic stop and later died in police custody, had died by her own hand.

Warren Diepraam, a Waller County prosecutor, told reporters Thursday that the only evidence “consistent with a violent struggle” were abrasions to her hands from handcuffs, likely sustained during her arrest.

A voice-mail message discovered Wednesday along with new information about the Illinois woman’s mental state had earlier raised even more questions about the puzzling circumstances surrounding her death.

In a voice-mail message obtained by ABC News, Bland said she was at a “loss for words honestly at this whole process” following her arrest for failing to signal a lane change on July 10 in Prairie View, Texas. Forms filled out by Bland from jail were released by officials, in which she said she had attempted suicide within the last year but did not feel suicidal. She was not placed on suicide watch inside the jail.

Family members have disputed the initial claims that Sandra Bland, a black Chicago-area woman who had recently relocated to Texas, hanged herself in her cell, claiming that she showed no signs of suicidal intentions. Here, a quick guide to what is known about the case so far:

Why was Bland arrested?
On July 10, the civil rights advocate originally from Naperville, Ill., was pulled over in Prairie View, Texas, for not signaling a lane change. The Texas Department of Public Safety says Bland was “argumentative and uncooperative” during the stop. A Texas trooper claimed that she had swung her elbows and kicked him in the shins. She was ordered out of the car, arrested, and charged with assaulting a public servant. In a video taken by a bystander, Bland can be heard saying that officers “slammed her head into the ground.”

In a news conference held Tuesday, Texas State Senator Royce West said that Bland “did not deserve to be put in custody.”

What does the police dashcam video show?
On Tuesday, authorities released a 52-minute recording taken from a patrol car showing an argument and physical confrontation between Bland and Texas State Trooper Brian Encinia, who asked Bland to put out her cigarette but refused. According to the video, Encinia appears to threaten to use his Taser on Bland for being uncooperative, saying “I will light you up.”

The original version of the video appeared to have some continuity issues, suggesting that it may have been edited before it was released. The Texas Department of Public Safety denied it had been intentionally re-edited, but released a second, complete version within hours with no material changes.

Does this video clear up any of the circumstances surrounding her death?
No. After her arrest, Bland was taken to the Waller County Sheriff’s Office jail and held for three days. Around 9 a.m. on July 13, she was found dead in her cell.

What do the police say happened?
Officials say Bland hanged herself with a plastic garbage bag, and security camera video released Monday appears to back up their account; the footage shows paramedics rushing to the hallway outside Bland’s jail cell but seems to show no activity outside the cell in the 90 minutes before. A Waller County prosecutor, citing preliminary autopsy results, said her death was suicide by hanging.

“It has not been determined that there have been any criminal activities or any criminal charges by any party at this time,” Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said in a press conference Thursday.

What does Bland’s family say?
That police may have been involved in her death, and that Bland had not been in a suicidal frame of mind. Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis says that the investigation, which is being led by the Texas Rangers and the FBI, is being treated as if it were a murder case. “Ms. Bland’s family does make valid points,” Mathis said in a news conference Monday, according to the Washington Post. “She did have a lot of things going on in her life for good.”

A lawyer for Bland’s family says there is “no evidence” that Bland previously attempted suicide. Her sister, Sharon Cooper, confirmed Thursday to ABC News that Bland had a miscarriage in May 2014 but had not been treated for or diagnosed with depression.

“I think everybody has lows and highs and I think that, you know, she was having maybe a bad day that day,” Cooper told ABC News, referring to the day of her arrest.

Bland had recently moved to Texas for a job at her alma mater, Prairie View A&M University. However, video has surfaced of Bland claiming to suffer from depression. She also posted videos speaking out against police brutality.

What has happened to the arresting officer?
Encinia, the state trooper, has been removed from his patrol and placed on desk duty. On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that a criminal investigation into Encinia’s actions had been opened by Mathis, the Texas district attorney.

What has the autopsy shown?
In a news conference Thursday, Diepraam said that preliminary autopsy results found that Bland’s body did not show any defensive injuries, which would have been signs of foul play. Officials say there were consistent markings around her neck but no damage to her trachea or esophagus, which also could indicate a homicide. Diepraam also confirmed that marijuana was found in Bland’s system.

Read next: Sandra Bland’s Friend Haunted by Missed Voicemail

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TIME Crime

Sheriffs Are Lonely Holdouts as Police Body Cameras Grow in Use

Deputies-Body Cameras
Nick Ut—AP A body camera is displayed at a news conference at the Sheriff's Headquarters in the Monterey Park section of Los Angeles on Sept. 22, 2014.

Some cite costs, others question their effectiveness

In Illinois, only four of the state’s 102 sheriffs have adopted body cameras. In Florida, just two of its 66 sheriffs have implemented them. And in other states across the country, many other sheriffs are hesitating before outfitting their officers with a technology that other departments and police chiefs are widely embracing.

As law enforcement agencies increasingly purchase body cameras as a way to build trust with the citizens they police—and provide transparency following several recent high-profile police-related deaths—sheriffs are emerging as one of the lone hold-outs. More than 7,000 of the 18,000 police departments around the U.S., which includes sheriffs’ departments, have adopted cameras, but only a fraction of the 3,000 sheriffs agencies have done so.

Vievu, a body camera manufacturer that counts more than 4,000 police agencies as clients, says only 100 of its customers are sheriffs, while TASER International, which includes 3,000 police department clients, says only about 360 are sheriffs. Cost is the main issue for many, especially for those who maintain a small force with a handful of officers. In states where public records are easily obtained, privacy issues are a concern. Some are waiting for their legislatures to decide on statewide body cam policies, while others have simply come out wholly opposed to their effectiveness.

Sheriffs generally serve a broader constituency than police chiefs, and often reside over rural areas that don’t have the same demographics or internal patterns of racial segregation as the big metropolitan areas that have tended to adopt cameras in lock-step. And because they’re directly elected, sheriffs don’t have to answer to a mayor or city council members, who may be feeling political pressure from the community to adopt cameras.

“They’re far more difficult to influence, far less pressured because they can always make an appeal directly to the public, whereas a police chief can’t do that,” says Dennis Kearney, a John Jay School of Criminal Justice professor. “They can resist better than a police chief can, and they’re going to feel probably a good deal more support and less criticism from the populations they serve because they’re elected.”

Sheriff Ricky Adam of Hancock County, Miss., says the costs associated with the cameras and the storage required to keep hours of video data are too much for his department, which includes just 50 deputies.

“We haven’t been able to buy a new patrol car going on four years,” Adam says. “I don’t know how I possibly have the money to spend on cameras.”

Many Illinois sheriffs are waiting to see whether Gov. Bruce Rauner will sign legislation to clarify the state’s dual-party law, which requires two-party consent for any recording. Greg Sullivan, executive director of the Illinois Sheriffs Association, says his organization has been working with lawmakers to determine when a suspect can be recorded, whether it can be done without verbal consent, and whether the cameras can be turned on and off while officers are on patrol.

Similarly, sheriffs in Florida have had to grapple with the state’s public records laws, often considered the most transparent in the country. In May, the governor signed into law a measure that would exempt body camera footage from public records requests involving recordings inside someone’s home, in a hospital or at the location of a medical emergency.

A number of sheriffs have simply decided the cameras aren’t necessary. Late last year, Beaufort County Sheriff P.J. Tanner in South Carolina wrote a public letter saying video would catch “good people on their worst days” and invade their privacy. It would also “unnecessarily expose investigative crime scene techniques,” he said, while citizens would be more reluctant to speak with deputies about problems if they’re on camera.

“Our sheriffs are very independent thinkers,” says John Thompson, deputy executive director of the National Sheriffs Association. “They don’t have to answer to any one individual.”

While TASER’s Smith says only a small part of their business is from sheriffs, he’s seen a recent uptick in interest thanks to what he believes is heightened focus on body cams and public pressure. And Thompson says a number of sheriffs he’s talked to are interested in adopting them, but many are waiting for more data to show their effectiveness.

“The majority who I’ve spoken to, they say it’s a good idea and they’re going to look into it,” Thompson says. “But we can’t get into this knee-jerk reaction that everybody has to have them. Not one shoe fits all.”

TIME Crime

Baltimore Police Union Chief Says Criminals ‘Empowered’ By Riots

Murder Spike Baltimore
Juliet Linderman—AP A Baltimore Police officer follows a man where a young boy and a 31-year-old woman were shot and killed May 28, 2015. In the month since Freddie Gray died and the city erupted in civil unrest, Baltimore has seen its murder rate skyrocket. There have been 38 murders in May alone.

As murders in the city spike and arrests plummet

Murders in Baltimore have reached the highest levels in 15 years, and the president of the city’s police union says it’s due to criminals feeling emboldened following the riots that broke out over the death of Freddie Gray last month.

“We’ve accomplished a lot of things over the last 10, 15 years and now we’re going backwards because the criminals are empowered,” says Lt. Gene Ryan, president of Baltimore city’s Fraternal Order of Police. “The criminal element is taking advantage of the crisis. They don’t believe there’s any recourse.”

On Thursday, two more people were found shot and killed in the city, the 37th and 38th homicides in May, the highest mark for Baltimore since November 1999. That spike in murders has coincided with a drastic decrease in arrests, which are down 56% compared with last year, according to the Associated Press.

The decline in arrests comes weeks after six police officers were indicted last month in the death of Freddie Gray, who died April 19 in police custody from a severe spinal injury. Gray’s death sparked riots in late April that damaged businesses and injured dozens of police officers.

Ryan says that many officers are concerned that mistakes on the force could get them indicted too. “Officers are afraid of doing their job,” he says. “They’re more afraid of going to jail than getting shot and killed right now.”

He added that he’s currently putting together a report based on officer interviews focusing on how the protests turned violent.

TIME justice

Cleveland Police Restrictions by DOJ Among the Most Extensive, Expert Says

Cleveland Police Shooting Protest
Tony Dejak—AP Protesters congregate in front of city hall Tuesday, May 26, 2015, in Cleveland. Members of about 40 churches are protesting the acquittal of a white patrolman charged in the deaths of two unarmed black motorists with a march through downtown Cleveland.

The 110-page report's mandates rank alongside New Orleans' requirements

The U.S. Department of Justice’s 110-page settlement agreement with the Cleveland Police Department released Tuesday includes one of the most extensive sets of restrictions ever placed upon a law enforcement agency, according to a federally appointed monitor working on a similar case.

The agreement requires Cleveland’s police to adopt hundreds of new policies and procedures to fix what the federal government has called a pattern of systemic abuses and unconstitutional practices. It includes mandates to adopt community policing strategies, prohibitions on use of force for people who are handcuffed or restrained and restrictions on firing from and at moving vehicles, as well as extensive mandates on logging use of force incidents—including each time officers unholster their weapons.

The agreement also includes a mandate to invest in police resources like computers, vehicles and other equipment. Geoffrey Alpert, a federally appointed monitor working with police in New Orleans, says he’s never seen a DOJ agreement that included a pledge to boost resources.

“I think that’s essentially the Justice Department saying, ‘Part of the problem is you didn’t fund your police department adequately,'” Alpert says.

Alpert monitors the implementation of what is generally considered the most extensive comprehensive agreement handed down by the DOJ to a law enforcement agency: the 2012 consent decree involving New Orleans police.

MORE: The Problems With Policing the Police

Following a DOJ report that found a history of corruption, use of excessive force and discrimination throughout New Orleans police, the government issued a 122-page agreement calling for a new reporting system to track all use of force incidents; prohibiting threats of violence during suspect interviews; requiring recordings of all interrogations; and even offering guidelines on how officers should refer to transgender residents.

But just as important, says Alpert, the agreement was the first to include outcome measures to determine whether the department was fulfilling its mandated requirements. And since then, he believes the DOJ agreements with departments like Ferguson, Mo., Newark, N.J., and Albuquerque, N.M., have improved over time for each agency.

“Justice has a learning curve,” Alpert says, referring to the DOJ. “You learn from your mistakes, and the agreements after those are oftentimes better versions.”

As the department implements its reforms, Cleveland is awaiting a decision on whether officers will be charged in the deaths last fall of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was fatally shot as he was playing with a replica gun, and Tanisha Anderson, who died following an altercation with police. Rice’s family is suing the police department for negligence.

Last week, a judge acquitted Officer Michael Brelo, who is white, in the shooting deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, both of whom were black. Officers fired 137 shots into their vehicle following a police chase. Brelo, who was acquitted of manslaughter, fired 15 shots into the car after climbing onto its hood. Last year, Cleveland settled a lawsuit with the victims’ families over their deaths.

TIME justice

Cleveland Agrees to Strict New Policing Rules After Federal Probe

Cleveland Police Shooting
John Minchillo—AP Riot police stand in formation as a protest forms against the acquittal of Michael Brelo, a patrolman charged in the shooting deaths of two unarmed suspects, on May 23, 2015, in Cleveland.

New agreement with Justice Department would curtail use of excessive force, and encourage a more diverse police department

The Cleveland Police Department agreed Tuesday to strict, legally binding new regulations, after a Justice Department probe found it had regularly used unnecessarily excessive force.

The department agreed to close oversight from an independent monitor, pledged to overhaul its use of force regulations, and said it would develop a recruitment policy to attract a more diverse force. The city will also create a Community Police Commission, made up of representatives from across the community as well as police representatives.

The new agreement with the DoJ, which will be enforceable in court, is the response to the Justice Department investigation begun in 2013, which concluded in December that the Cleveland Police Department regularly engaged in a pattern of excessive force.

“The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that every American benefits from a police force that protects and serves all members of the community,” said Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch in a statement. “The agreement we have reached with the city of Cleveland is the result of the hard work and dedication of the entire Cleveland community, and looks to address serious concerns, rebuild trust, and maintain the highest standards of professionalism and integrity.”

U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach of the Northern District of Ohio said he thinks this agreement can serve as “an example of what true partnership and hard work can accomplish – a transformational blueprint for reform that can be a national model for any police department ready to escort a great city to the forefront of the 21st Century.”

The announcement comes in the wake of widespread unrest in Cleveland following the acquittal of Michael Brelo, a Cleveland police officer who was charged with manslaughter after he climbed on the roof of an unarmed black couple’s car and fired at least 15 shots at close range, killing them both.

In total, Brelo and his fellow officers fired more than 100 shots in eight seconds at Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams after pursuing them in a high-speed chase for 22 miles. After the verdict was announced Saturday, protestors took to the streets of Cleveland, demanding justice and reform.

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