Cleveland mayor won't blame police brass for excessive use-of-force practices in rank-and-file

CLEVELAND – Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson says he doesn’t blame police brass for problems detailed in a blistering report by the U.S. Justice Department that says there is a pattern and practice of officers using excessive use of force and violating people’s civil rights.

Jackson acknowledged at a Thursday news conference that there are problems within the Cleveland Police Department but deflected most of the blame to officers, their supervisors and an external system that sometimes shields officers from punishment.

There have been calls from the community and politicians for Jackson to fire Michael McGrath, the former police chief and current safety director.

Next week, the city and DOJ are scheduled to begin negotiating a court-ordered consent decree that will lead to the appointment of an outside monitor to oversee departmental reforms.