Deadly Force: A message from the Department of Public Safety

Deadly Force: A message from the Department of Public Safety

Cleveland Safety Officials assure full cooperation and disclosure, promise accountability:

Late Thursday night, Cleveland Police officers were involved in a high-speed pursuit that ended in East Cleveland with the loss of two lives – a man and a woman, and many unanswered questions.  On behalf of Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson and Police Chief Michael McGrath, I want to express our condolences to the friends and family members of those who lost their lives and assure the community that the City of Cleveland will cooperate fully with the East Cleveland Police Department and any other agencies that may be called upon to assist with the investigation.

This incident has raised a number of issues and concerns about the use of deadly force by our officers.

  • Was the pursuit properly supervised as required by the policies of the Division of Police;
  • Was the number of officers involved in the pursuit limited as required; and
  • Was the use of force by the officers necessary to protect the lives and safety of the officers?

These questions and many others will be addressed during the East Cleveland investigation and the administrative review conducted by the Cleveland Chief of Police.

In addition to our full cooperation with East Cleveland Police, Police Chief McGrath will also contact the United States Attorney and Federal Bureau of Investigation to elicit their support to assist in his administrative review.

The Chief and I both know firsthand the challenges in making accurate, yet split second decisions that police officers often face.  That is why we have continuous training, and well-researched and tested policies and procedures, designed to guide our officers through difficult situations.

Full disclosure and accountability is critical to maintaining trust between the Cleveland Division of Police and the citizens they serve.  Should, in the course of the investigation and administrative review it become clear that those policies and procedures were not followed, our officers and supervisors will be held accountable.

Director Martin L. Flask, Cleveland Department of Public Safety

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