Justice Department announces strict terms for Cleveland Police Department reforms

Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus graduate with John Marshall Class of 2015; Cop flashed his badge and gun during drunken fight

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We boil down what happened in Cleveland this week.

Justice Department announces strict terms for Cleveland Police Department reforms

On May 25, the Cleveland Police Department (CPD) made an announcement about their efforts to keep police activity more transparent. According to a new settlement made between the department and the U.S. Justice Department, cops are now required to be more detailed in their descriptions when recording use of force. Officers are also now barred from using retaliatory violence.

This “consent decree” is laid out in a 105 page document. It also includes a 13-member citizen advisory committee, which will take community input into further improvements.

The document comes at a time of rising tension between the people of Cleveland and the CPD. Just last week, a not guilty verdict was announced in the case of Michael Brelo, a white police officer accused of excessive force during a police chase with two African Americans, both of whom were killed. This led to widespread, mostly peaceful, protests throughout the city, with over 70 arrests.

Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus graduate with John Marshall Class of 2015

Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus graduated with the class of 2015 from John Marshall High School on May 27 at the Wolstein Center at Cleveland State University. Berry was almost seventeen and was enrolled at John Marshall when Ariel Castro abducted her. DeJesus was fourteen, but was planning to go to John Marshall.

“It was awesome,” Berry told The Plain Dealer. “I always wanted to grow up and be somebody and do something with my life, you know? I always planned to graduate, and my mom always wanted that for me, to see me cross the stage. So this means everything to me.”

Cop flashed his badge and gun during drunken fight 

Karl Lessman, a 24-year-old Akron cop, pleaded no contest to a Jan. 25 charge of aggravated trespassing. The charge comes from a fight with two other men, in which Lessman and his brother, drunk at the time, threatened them with his gun and badge. Lessman was initially charged with using weapons while intoxicated and disorderly conduct. He has continued to work on restricted duty throughout the case.