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Mayor questions early release of deadly police chase information

Mayor questions early release of deadly police chase information

(Cleveland) - Mayor Frank Jackson called a surprise news conference Friday morning to vent some frustration over how the investigation of the deadly November police chase has been handled.

Jackson feels Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine jumped the gun when DeWine held a news conference and declared a "systemic failure" in the Cleveland Police Department. Jackson feels that pre-concluded that officers did nothing wrong and he thinks that has harmed the disciplinary process. Jackson admits there were failures, but on the parts of individual officers and supervisors. He called the city's ongoing disciplinary process "fair".

WTAM spoke to DeWine who said, "It's a sad thing when the mayor of Cleveland is saying we should withhold information from the public." DeWine called it a volitile situation and the public needed to be told what happened that night.

DeWine also stood by his claim that there was "systemic failure" in the Cleveland Police Department. 

As for the investigation itself, DeWine says he was asked to do it. 

Jackson also said that officers who followed procedures have nothing to worry about, those who did not will have to worry. He says people's careers and lives are on the line and it has to be dealt with in a fair process.

Jackson also worries that in the effort to place blame on the police department, people are forgetting that two unarmed people were shot more than 20 times each. He says that if the victims were dogs, "They would've had better consideration, more attention paid to them and more attention paid to whether or not it was handled according to the law and due process."

On Tuesday, Jackson and Police Chief Michael McGrath announced that a dozen supervisors were being disciplined after the chase in which officers fired 137 shots and killed a fleeing driver and his passenger.

One supervisor was fired, two others were demoted and nine others were suspended.

Chief Michael McGrath has said supervisors failed to take control of the 19-mile chase that wound through neighborhoods before ending in a barrage of gunfire.

The county prosecutor is conducting a separate grand jury investigation into possible criminal wrongdoing in the chase last November. Jackson thinks AG Mike DeWine overstepped his authority in the investigation his office conducted, and that is reflected in information he gave to County Prosecutor Tim McGinty.

The police union said the shootings were justified because the driver tried to ram an officer. Fraternal Order of Police President Brian Betly told Newsradio WTAM 1100 that grievances are being filed by all 12 supervisors.

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(Copyright © 2013 by Clear Channel, all rights reserved. Photo courtesy WKYC.com.)

 

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