Consent decree effects and reactions in Cleveland

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Local groups are reacting to an order from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions regarding agreements made between the Obama administration and cities like Cleveland. The agreements are known as consent decrees.

Between March 2013 and December 2014, the Department of Justice began an investigation into the Cleveland Police Department after a series of excessive force incidents. The investigation revealed that changes to the police force and behaviors were necessary. A 5-year plan was enacted by the Obama administration beginning and 2015, which is expected to be completed by 2020. That plan is known as a consent decree.

The agreement called for several changes, including the creation of the Community Police Commission, the use of reformed policing and de-escalation policies, improvements of training to officers and more.

According to CBS News, a recent memo from Attorney General Sessions declared it is not the federal government's job to police local law enforcement agencies. Sessions feels the consent decrees are costly and ineffective methods introduced during President Obama's terms.

Now, some community groups, such as the NAACP, are showing concern because of the recent order from Sessions. The Cleveland NAACP released a statement regarding the possible changes:

"This proposal by Attorney General Jeff Sessions puts all citizens in danger. Consent decrees in many cases are the protection citizens have against rogue police officers. These decrees have been implemented in 14 law enforcement jurisdictions including Cleveland since 2009. 
The Cleveland community in general and people of color in particular should be especially concerned in light of our police departments long history of abusing its authority and using excessive force including the killing of unarmed men, women and children. Any rollback of the Cleveland consent decree would signal to police officers that it's all right to violate the civil rights of those they are sworn to protect and serve."

The Cleveland Police Patrolman's Association also released a statement. The organization's view on the consent decrees differs from the Cleveland NAACP branch. According to the statement:

"We look forward to the results of Attorney General Sessions review and opinion concerning the very costly and largely ineffective consent decrees which have been forced upon cash strapped cities by the Obama Administration, Cleveland included." 

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