FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Federal Monitor Statement on Tamir Rice Decision
CLEVELAND, Ohio (December 28, 2015) – A number of community members have been asking the federal Monitor about his views on the Tamir Rice decision announced this afternoon. Many want to know whether the Monitoring Team has a role in the decision to prosecute individuals involved in the incident.
Since being appointed in October 2015, we have met with a number of community organizations, leaders, and citizens from across Cleveland’s diverse communities. We have heard the frustrations of many who believe that the community is not heard and has never had a seat at the table with respect to determining how they should be policed.
We have also spent significant time getting to know the Division’s officers, supervisors, command staff, and union leadership. We have heard the concerns of CPD officers who genuinely want to engage in policing focused on community relationships and problem-solving rather than simply running from call to call or crisis to crisis.
The Consent Decree does not give the Monitor the ability to criminally prosecute officers or to oversee the county officials involved in such prosecution decisions. Indeed, it prohibits the Monitor, as an agent of the federal court, from commenting on the merits of specifically identified cases, especially incidents that occurred before the decree was in place.
What the Decree does, however, is to provide a specific process, overseen by a federal court, for ensuring that the Cleveland Division of Police is fundamentally transformed in the future – by establishing ongoing, systemic accountability mechanisms that will aim to change how the police function and how the police and community interact. This change will not happen overnight. We will ensure that the community in all its forms and CPD have the conversations that are necessary to establish a new, shared vision of policing in Cleveland as the Consent Decree moves forward.