Investigator: Police pursuit policy called ineffective

8:12 AM, Dec 5, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- A criminal defense attorney who is suing Cleveland police following a high-speed police chase, says the police pursuit policy is a good one, but it's ineffective.

"The policy is one thing. The practice is quite another," said attorney Dan Chaplin.

Chaplin represents Edward Henderson, who was chased by both police vehicles and a police helicopter on New Year's Day in 2011.

Henderson is seen on police video eventually getting out of his car and walking away. He gets face-down on the ground when he sees officers approaching.

Minutes after Henderson is handcuffed down on the ground, he says he was beaten. He suffered fractures to his face and a detached retina.

Chaplin called the Henderson chase and last week's deadly chase unnecessary. 

"There's just no good reason to chasing someone at high speed all the way across town when you know who they are," Chaplin said.

Cleveland's purusit policy has changed a number of times since 2007, following a number of deaths and injuries.

It was most recently changed in 2010 and, among the changes, was the requirment to end a search when a superviser orders it.

A man is heard on police dispatch tape saying "no cars have permission to pursue" about 20 minutes into the chase.

His comments are followed by a woman who says "5th district cars, terminate the pursuit."

The police union representing supervisers says it's possible only 5th district police heard the order as it was broadcast on a radio channel designated for that district.

Officers from the 2nd and 3rd districts were also invovled in the chase.

Chaplin believes the lack of discipline is one reason the pursuit policy is ineffective. He says no officer has yet been held accountable for the Henderson chase.

City Hall says it is waiting for the outcome of an ongoing federal investigation before deciding what action to take against officers involved in the alleged beating.

In the Henderson case, police used its helicopter in the chase. Police say it wasn't used in last week's chase because it wasn't in operation and the four pilots were not on duty.   


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