The recent indictments of 11 police officers for a variety of alleged illicit behaviors have shocked the city of East Cleveland, Ohio. Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley recently held a press conference where he played video footage of police verbally and physically abusing unarmed individuals. According to reports, the allegations included kicking someone who was kneeling on the ground in the back, stomping on a suspect who was already being restrained by another officer, and hitting another suspect on the ground while saying, “Get his ass!” This comes after identical charges against four other policemen were filed recently.
The fact that this behavior is still occurring in our town is intolerable, and it represents poorly on local policing. The fact that so many policemen are involved in these kinds of activities is extremely disturbing because it threatens the public’s trust in law enforcement at an alarming rate. It is obvious that action needs to be taken to prevent such occurrences from happening in the future and to guarantee that people interact with law enforcement in a safe way.
Strict steps must be implemented to stop any such wrongdoing in order to restore trust between the general public and law enforcement officers. Investigations into police wrongdoing must be conducted with greater transparency, and all claims must be taken seriously and thoroughly examined. To better prepare them with the skills required for interacting with varied groups, officers should regularly attend training sessions that concentrate on de-escalation techniques and cultural competency. Also, individuals found guilty of misbehavior ought to suffer the proper penalties in order to set a good example for other police regarding behavior that will not be permitted when interacting with civilians.
Before further harm is caused by similar instances of officer misbehavior, it is imperative that Cuyahoga County officials take action now to rebuild trust in our police department. We can only ensure that trust between the general public and law enforcement professionals remains maintained so that everyone feels safe while engaging with one another via meaningful reform and improved accountability.