On Tuesday officials from Cleveland and the Department of Justice joined together in announcing the terms of the “consent decree” under which the Cleveland Police Department (CPD) will now operate. The new requirements are a long step toward turning the CPD into a branch of the federal government — a road that communists and socialists the world over have been advocating for decades.
Nearly every detail of a police officer’s life while on duty will now be scrutinized, analyzed, recorded, and reviewed according to federal standards of conduct. Officers will no longer be able to use force against people who are verbally threatening them, or to keep them from running away even if they might present a threat to others in the process. “Pistol whipping” (undefined) is now prohibited and every unholstering of a weapon must be reported. In other words, every action of a police officer will be as carefully reviewed as those of any criminal in a crime scene.
Cleveland has agreed to allow an outside “independent” monitor track the department’s fulfillment of the federal mandates, and if any of those mandates aren’t followed, a federal judge now has the power to intervene to enforce them.
The CPD has agreed, as part of the consent decree, to hire a civilian to lead its internal affairs unit — a blatant admission by the CPD that its own people can’t be trusted to do so — and to hire a separate inspector general to investigate alleged “police misconduct” and analyze policies and trends. All of this, says the New York Times, is necessary “to ensure that police keep accurate records and conduct genuine investigations.”
The CPD has also agreed to the federal mandate requiring the formation of a civilian review board to, as the Times expressed it, “review policies and advocate better community relations.”
In addition, the CPD will be required to establish a coordinator in charge of data collection not only on the use of force and unholstering of weapons, but also for searches and seizures, to make sure that such data conforms with Justice Department standards in its “stop and search” data collection system.
This is just the beginning, according to a top Justice Department official. Now that its proverbial nose has entered the CPD’s tent, Vanita Gupta, head of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, said:
There is much work to be done, across the nation and in Cleveland, to rebuild trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.…
Today’s agreement really should serve as a model for those seeking to address similar issues in their communities.
One of those “seeking to address” these issues was the mayor of Cleveland, Frank Jackson, a close friend of leftist Democrat member of the House Representative Stephanie Jones and a member of Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition. Following the shooting of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams in November 2012, Jackson demanded a federal investigation, and Eric Holder, the attorney general at the time, was only too happy to unleash Gupta, resulting in Tuesday’s announcement.
This is all part of a plan to federalize the 18,000 local and municipal law-enforcement agencies currently under local control. As spelled out in an executive order issued in December, “Task Force on 21st Century Policing,” President Obama made clear his intentions:
The U.S. Department of Justice … should provide technical assistance and incentive funding to jurisdictions with small police agencies that take steps toward shared services, regional training and consolidation. [Emphasis added.]
The reader should be careful to note the collectivist flavor of that italicized phrase: Local agencies must be funded with federal dollars and then, in a quid pro quo, agree to allow themselves to be “consolidated,” to participate in “shared services” with other local and regional agencies, and to subject themselves to “regional training.” There is no longer much of any attempt to hide the real purpose behind “consent decrees” such as that forced onto the CPD (as well as onto police departments in Albuquerque, Detroit, New Orleans, and Seattle). The Department of Justice has opened nearly two dozen such “investigations” into the operations of local police departments, including a new one in Baltimore using the death of Freddie Gray, the black man who died of injuries while in police custody, as a convenient excuse.
Obama thinks now is the time to press the matter. In commenting on these investigations last month he said, “The moment is now for us to make these changes.”
A graduate of an Ivy League school and a former investment advisor, Bob is a regular contributor to The New American magazine and blogs frequently at www.LightFromTheRight.com, primarily on economics and politics.