Possible Changes in Use of Deadly Force

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CLEVELAND -- As the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation continues its review of the Nov. 29 pursuit by Cleveland police that left two people dead, Mayor Frank Jackson says an internal investigation is underway, into whether the officers followed city policies, and whether Cleveland police policies and training are up to national standards.

An investigation was launched in November after a police chase ended with 13 Cleveland police officers firing 137 rounds at car carrying 43-year-old Timothy Russell and 30-year-old Malissa Williams.

Both Russell and Williams were shot multiple times and died at the scene.

Officials said the pursuit began in front of the Justice Center, where officers believed someone had fired at them.

The high-speed chase continued for 25 minutes before coming to an end in East Cleveland.

No gun or shell casings were found in the suspect’s vehicle.

Earlier this year, an organization called the Police Executive Research Forum recommended that Cleveland conduct internal police investigations at the same time as criminal investigations.

During a news conference on Thursday, Chief Michael McGrath said, "So you can bring some end for the families, rather than do the criminal and administrative, then it drags out for a year.  At least get a jump on it, is their recommendation, so that you can reach a conclusion."

But the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association says the city's administrative review might lead to a rush to judgment in the incident.

CPPA President Jeff Follmer told Fox 8, "I think there's political pressure to find these guys guilty of something. Right now, (we’re) getting out to the public that these guys did nothing wrong, and all the suspects had to do was stop and we're not even here today."

During the news conference, Mayor Jackson said City Hall is considering a plan to have an outside agency investigate all cases of deadly force.

"For the public to be confident that what happened was happening above board, transparent and has credibility, it's always best to have another set of eyes look at it," said Jackson.

In response, Follmer said, "You know, our homicide unit, prosecutors, city prosecutor, they're all capable of making determinations on these cases, I don't think every case has to go to an outside agency."

The mayor maintains City Hall has not reached any conclusions about the actions of officers involved in the incident.

Lt. Brian Betley, of the Fraternal Order of Police told, Fox 8, "If anything was done, perhaps outside any guidelines or anything else, a lot of times there's explanations why.  Suspects' actions dictate the way you handle yourself many times."

Jackson said he expects a city committee conducting the internal investigation to issue its recommendations by the end of January.

There is no timetable on the BCI investigation.

*For additional coverage on this case, click here

Kara Sutyak December 27, 20121:57 pm

press conference has ended.

Kara Sutyak December 27, 20121:56 pm

Chief Michael McGrath says internal probe is focusing on whether officers complied with police policies and standards, whether policies are equal to national standards, and whether training standards are up to standards in cities of similar size.

Kara Sutyak December 27, 20121:55 pm

Mayor Jackson: my goal is to ensure the people and the police officers that we will do this in an honest and credible way. At the end of this, if you’re within the box.. you’re fine.. we’re only covering administrative side.. criminal side is BCI.

Kara Sutyak December 27, 20121:53 pm

Mayor Frank Jackson: if there are findings someone has gone outside the parameter.. it will go from there.

Kara Sutyak December 27, 20121:52 pm

Chief McGrath: they’ll look at our policy and see if we need to add to it to make it better.

Kara Sutyak December 27, 20121:50 pm

Mayor Jackson: we do not want police officers feeling as if for some reason they’re not going to be treated fair. Neither, do we want citizens depending on us, believing something isn’t going to be done fair here. This is about reassuring the community and the officers, that this will be conducted fairly and openly.

Kara Sutyak December 27, 20121:48 pm

Mayor Jackson: (talking about type of agency to investigate deadly force) We’ve done a good job internally, but in order for the public to be confident that what happened was above board, it’s always best to have another set of eyes look at it. WHO becomes the question.

Kara Sutyak December 27, 20121:46 pm

McGrath: I’d like to see the committee’s recommendations by the end of January.

Kara Sutyak December 27, 20121:45 pm

Chief McGrath: recommendations will be made to our office. .and we’ll take measures we need to. Once criminal investigation is complete, we’ll start the whole process again to make sure we were in compliance.

Kara Sutyak December 27, 20121:44 pm

Police Chief Michael McGrath: we’ve put together a committee.. looking at 3 components: was there compliance with our policies and procedures.. the second, are they equal to national standards? third- did we comply with and were our training standards up to par to do things properly?

Kara Sutyak December 27, 20121:37 pm

Mayor Jackson: we need another set of eyes on our policies and procedures.

Kara Sutyak December 27, 20121:36 pm

Mayor Jackson: we will review completed investigations to make sure they are in accordance with our policies. That should be complete in next 60 days.

Kara Sutyak December 27, 20121:35 pm

Mayor Jackson: we have requested an external review of the division of police..to see if the best practices are being followed.

Kara Sutyak December 27, 20121:34 pm

Mayor Jackson: the use of deadly force incident on Nov. 29 raised some questions. The criminal investigation is still in progress, we are continuing to look at how we use deadly force situations. We are reviewing .. having an external agency investigate incidents of deadly force in the future.

Kara Sutyak December 27, 20121:33 pm

Mayor Jackson: in February of 2006, we implemented a new policy. Over the past 7 years, we have continued to put things in place to establish credibility.. it’s important the public knew and respected and had confidence in our credibility.

Kara Sutyak December 27, 20121:32 pm

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson: in January of 2006, we updated the use of deadly force policy.