Cleveland policing reforms could be 'national model'

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Cleveland Policing Reforms Could Be 'National Model'

Days after a Cleveland police officer shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice, the Justice Department released a report saying Cleveland police had a pattern of using "unnecessary and excessive deadly force" that violated its citizens' civil rights.

Now federal and city officials have reached an agreement on some of the strictest police reforms in the nation, potentially setting a bar for departments across the country.

"To announce what I agree is a historic agreement that will transform the way the city of Cleveland is policed for years and years to come," said U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach of the Northern District of Ohio.

The deal calls for more training and accountability for police, which lines up with demands of protesters Saturday who were angry after a judge found a Cleveland police officer not guilty of manslaughter in the shooting of two unarmed suspects in 2012.

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Cleveland policing reforms could be 'national model'
A demonstrator is arrested during a protest against the acquittal of Michael Brelo, a patrolman charged in the shooting deaths of two unarmed suspects, Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Cleveland. Brelo was acquitted Saturday in a case involving a 137-shot barrage of gunfire that helped prompt the U.S. Department of Justice determine the city police department had a history of using excessive force and violating civil rights. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 23: Protestors march across the Detroit Superior Bridge as people take to the streets and protest in reaction to Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo being acquitted of manslaughter charges after he shot two people at the end of a 2012 car chase in which officers fired 137 shots May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. After leading police on a 20-mile chase, Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams were shot dead after Officer Brelo jumped onto the hood of the car and unleashing a fatal barrage of gunfire. on May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio.
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 23: Tanis Quach, of Cleveland, protests in front of the Justice Building. People take to the streets and protest in reaction to Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo being acquitted of manslaughter charges after he shot two people at the end of a 2012 car chase in which officers fired 137 shots May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. After leading police on a 20-mile chase, Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams were shot dead after Officer Brelo jumped onto the hood of the car and unleashing a fatal barrage of gunfire. on May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio.
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 23: Police in front of Progressive Field stand guard during demenstrations in reaction to Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo being acquitted of manslaughter charges after he shot two people at the end of a 2012 car chase in which officers fired 137 shots May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. After leading police on a 20-mile chase, Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams were shot dead after Officer Brelo jumped onto the hood of the car and unleashing a fatal barrage of gunfire. on May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio.
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 23: A protestor throws a sign at a patron at Harry Buffal on E 4th. St. during demonstrations in reaction to Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo being acquitted of manslaughter charges after he shot two people at the end of a 2012 car chase in which officers fired 137 shots May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. After leading police on a 20-mile chase, Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams were shot dead after Officer Brelo jumped onto the hood of the car and unleashing a fatal barrage of gunfire. on May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio.
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 23: People take to the streets and protest in reaction to Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo being acquitted of manslaughter charges after he shot two people at the end of a 2012 car chase in which officers fired 137 shots May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. After leading police on a 20-mile chase, Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams were shot dead after Officer Brelo jumped onto the hood of the car and unleashing a fatal barrage of gunfire. on May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Demonstrators march during a protest against the acquittal of Michael Brelo, a patrolman charged in the shooting deaths of two unarmed suspects, Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Cleveland. Brelo was acquitted Saturday in a case involving a 137-shot barrage of gunfire that helped prompt the U.S. Department of Justice determine the city police department had a history of using excessive force and violating civil rights. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 23: People march in protest to the Cuddell Recreation Center where Tamir Rice was killed, in reaction to Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo being acquitted of manslaughter charges after he shot two people at the end of a 2012 car chase in which officers fired 137 shots May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. After leading police on a 20-mile chase, Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams were shot dead after Officer Brelo jumped onto the hood of the car and unleashing a fatal barrage of gunfire. on May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ricky Rhodes/Getty Images)
Worshippers hold hands at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church as the congregation is lead in a prayer for healing following the acquittal of Michael Brelo, a patrolman charged in the shooting deaths of two unarmed suspects, Sunday, May 24, 2015, in Cleveland. Brelo was acquitted Saturday in a case involving a 137-shot barrage of gunfire that helped prompt the U.S. Department of Justice determine the city police department had a history of using excessive force and violating civil rights. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Demonstrators march during a protest against the acquittal of Michael Brelo, a patrolman charged in the shooting deaths of two unarmed suspects, Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Cleveland. Brelo was acquitted Saturday in a case involving a 137-shot barrage of gunfire that helped prompt the U.S. Department of Justice determine the city police department had a history of using excessive force and violating civil rights. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Demonstrators march during a protest against the acquittal of Michael Brelo, a patrolman charged in the shooting deaths of two unarmed suspects, Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Cleveland. Brelo was acquitted Saturday in a case involving a 137-shot barrage of gunfire that helped prompt the U.S. Department of Justice determine the city police department had a history of using excessive force and violating civil rights. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Mounted police follow demonstrators as they march through downtown during a protest against the acquittal of Michael Brelo, a patrolman charged in the shooting deaths of two unarmed suspects, Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Cleveland. Brelo was acquitted Saturday in a case involving a 137-shot barrage of gunfire that helped prompt the U.S. Department of Justice determine the city police department had a history of using excessive force and violating civil rights. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
A protestor films riot police as they advance on a small march against the acquittal of Michael Brelo, a patrolman charged in the shooting deaths of two unarmed suspects, Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Cleveland. Brelo was acquitted Saturday in a case involving a 137-shot barrage of gunfire that helped prompt the U.S. Department of Justice determine the city police department had a history of using excessive force and violating civil rights. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Demonstrators pause at the entrance to the Cuyahoga County Justice Center as police stand guard during a protest against the acquittal of Michael Brelo, a patrolman charged in the shooting deaths of two unarmed suspects, Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Cleveland. Brelo was acquitted Saturday in a case involving a 137-shot barrage of gunfire that helped prompt the U.S. Department of Justice determine the city police department had a history of using excessive force and violating civil rights. (AP Photo/John Minchillo
Protesters are escorted to a bus for transport after getting arrested after protesting the acquittal of Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Cleveland. The acquittal came at a time of nationwide tension among police and black citizens punctuated by protests over the deaths of black suspects at the hands of white officers — and following a determination by the U.S. Department of Justice that Cleveland police had a history of using excessive force and violating civil rights. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Protesters are directed to a bus for transport after getting arrested after protesting the acquittal of Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Cleveland. The acquittal came at a time of nationwide tension among police and black citizens punctuated by protests over the deaths of black suspects at the hands of white officers — and following a determination by the U.S. Department of Justice that Cleveland police had a history of using excessive force and violating civil rights. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Protesters are directed to a bus for transport after getting arrested after protesting the acquittal of Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Cleveland. The acquittal came at a time of nationwide tension among police and black citizens punctuated by protests over the deaths of black suspects at the hands of white officers — and following a determination by the U.S. Department of Justice that Cleveland police had a history of using excessive force and violating civil rights. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Protesters wait to be transported after getting arrested after protesting the acquittal of Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Cleveland. The acquittal came at a time of nationwide tension among police and black citizens punctuated by protests over the deaths of black suspects at the hands of white officers — and following a determination by the U.S. Department of Justice that Cleveland police had a history of using excessive force and violating civil rights. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 23: Protesters outside of Tower City in Public Square demonstrate in reaction to Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo being acquitted of manslaughter charges after he shot two people at the end of a 2012 car chase in which officers fired 137 shots May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. After leading police on a 20-mile chase, Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams were shot dead after Officer Brelo jumped onto the hood of the car and unleashing a fatal barrage of gunfire. (Photo by Ricky Rhodes/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 23: People take to the streets and protest in reaction to Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo being acquitted of manslaughter charges after he shot two people at the end of a 2012 car chase in which officers fired 137 shots May 23, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. After leading police on a 20-mile chase, Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams were shot dead after Officer Brelo jumped onto the hood of the car and unleashing a fatal barrage of gunfire. (Photo by Ricky Rhodes/Getty Images)
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, Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Cleveland. Brelo was acquitted Saturday in a case involving a 137-shot barrage of gunfire that helped prompt the U.S. Department of Justice determine the city police department had a history of using excessive force and violating civil rights. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Cleveland police officers observe a protest near the home of the Cuyahoga County prosecutor after the acquittal of officer Michael Brelo, on Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Cleveland. Brelo, a police officer charged in the shooting deaths of two unarmed suspects, Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, was acquitted, Saturday. Marchers also protested the lack of progress into the investigation of the killing of a 12-year-old boy carrying a pellet gun by Cleveland police last year. (AP photo/Andrew Welsh-Huggins)
Alfredo Williams, left, and Renee Robinson, cousins of Malissa Williams who is one of the victims, protests outside the courthouse after the Michael Brelo verdict Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Cleveland. Brelo, 31, a police officer charged in the shooting deaths of two unarmed suspects, Williams and Timothy Russell, during a 137-shot barrage of gunfire, was acquitted, Saturday, May 23, 2015. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
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The new agreement comes at a time when police departments across the nation are considering reforms to address excessive force.

"We have signed and are filing a 105-page, comprehensive consent decree that, once approved, will not only serve as a road map for reform in Cleveland but as a national model for any police department ready to escort a great city to the forefront of the 21st century," Dettelbach said.

Some of the changes for Cleveland include barring the use of lethal force and training to better de-escalate situations. The police department will also be required to keep better records about police stops and use of force.

The lack of comprehensive statistics nationally on such issues is something the Obama administration said it wants to change. Cleveland will have an independent monitor to make sure the reforms are carried out.

These are the types of reforms being considered nationally.

The Justice Department has opened more than a dozen investigations into police departments under the Obama administration and has reached similar deals in cities like New Orleans, Seattle and Detroit.

Justice Department and Cleveland officials are now presenting the agreement to a federal judge for approval.

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