A civil rights lawsuit was filed Wednesday against the City of Cleveland and several police officers, alleging that Cleveland police sergeant Timothy Patton shot and permanently injured a man who was surrendering and unarmed.
The complaint, filed in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, alleges that after Patton shot Kipp Holloway, he shoved the barrel of his gun in Holloway's mouth while threateningly interrogating him. It also says other Cleveland police officers on the scene mocked Holloway, and failed to acknowledge or seek immediate medical treatment for the gunshot wounds to his arm and chest as he visibly bled onto the ground. The lawsuit states officers subsequently made additional threats against Holloway when he was finally transported to the hospital.
Holloway, a father of four and former laborer, suffered serious and permanent physical and psychological injuries, including wounds to his left arm and chest, leaving his left hand virtually useless. As a result, he claims he is unable to work or hold his infant son.
This lawsuit is filed in the midst of efforts by U.S. Department of Justice to engage the City of Cleveland in agreeing to a Consent Decree, which would mandate reform and oversight within the Cleveland Division of Police ("CDP") for a "a pattern or practice of using excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution." The lawsuit seeks to hold the City of Cleveland accountable for the CDP's violence against Holloway as part of "structural and systemic deficiencies and practices" which "contribute to CDP's use of unreasonable force" as determined by the Department of Justice.
The 60 page report from the Department of Justice details its investigation into the Cleveland PD. Here are some key findings from the report:
In Cleveland DOJ found the unreasonable practices included:
- The unnecessary and excessive use of deadly force, including shootings and head strikes with impact weapons
- The unnecessary, excessive or retaliatory use of less lethal force including tasers, chemical spray and fists
- Excessive force against persons who are mentally ill or in crisis, including in cases where the officers were called exclusively for a welfare check
- The employment of poor and dangerous tactics that place officers in situations where avoidable force becomes inevitable
The investigation found that division fails to:
- Adequately review and investigate officers' uses of force
- Fully and objectively investigate all allegations of misconduct
- Identify and respond to patterns of at-risk behavior
- Provide its officers with the support, training, supervision, and equipment needed to allow them to do their jobs safely and effectively
- Adopt and enforce appropriate policies
- Implement effective community policing strategies.