ACLU wants independent probe of Cleveland police chase

12:54 AM, Dec 14, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- Another plea for an independent investigation of that 25-minute police chase that ended in a hail of bullets.

The ACLU is asking that the State's Bureau of Criminal Investigation conduct the investigation without local police.

Malissa Williams, passenger in the fleeing car in which she was shot and killed, was remembered Thursday in front of her uncle's home at Central Avenue and East 30th street.

A half dozen community activists and members of Williams' family chanted and sang songs. They asked for a federal investigation into the actions of Cleveland police officers involved.

On the same day, the ACLU joins the ministerial community, some Cleveland City Council members, and members of the African American community asking for outside investigators.

The ACLU wrote a letter to the Ohio Attorney General asking for an investigation independent of any local law enforcement input.

BCI already has a 18 full-time agents assigned to the case. The civil liberties group wants to exclude the the two Cleveland and two East Cleveland officers currently helping with the investigation.

"Our concern is too avoid even the appearance of impropriety and avoid any suggestion there were insider deals, a wink and a nod, then we'll look at it but not to do a thorough job kind of suspicious," ACLU Legal Director James Hardiman said.

The ACLU looked at 4,000 complaints of excessive forced leveled against Cleveland police since 2000.

The results were alarming.

Hardiman says not one of them found the police at fault.

The ACLU legal director added that, of the 13 officers involved in the chase and shooting, not one was an African American. He says that suggests a serious problem that begs a look from an outside agency.


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