Friday, February 8, 2013

Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath responds to calls for his resignation from the Cleveland police union with a message to the greater Cleveland Black community, others

Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath
A Message From Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath To The Greater Cleveland Community Following A Demand On February 7 By The Cleveland Police Union For Rank And File Police Officers (The Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association) For His Resignation. The demand Follows A Report From Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine That The Cleveland Police Department Has Systemic Failures That Contributed To The Deadly Shooting  On Nov 29 By Cleveland Police Of Unarmed Black Suspects Malissa Williams And Timothy Russell. Both  Were Gunned Down By A Group Of White Officers Firing 137 Rounds Of Ammunition Gangsta-Style. A Cuyahoga County Grand Jury Will Determine If An Indictment On Felony Murders Charges Will Be Issued Against Police

CLEVELAND, Ohio-Over the past few days, the investigative file regarding the use of deadly force by Cleveland Police Officers on November 29, 2012 was released and the public discussion surrounding this incident has intensified. It is important for you to know directly from me where we stand.
On November 30th, I promised you that the administrative review process would be thorough, fair and transparent and that the outcome would be just for all those involved. That commitment still holds true today. The administrative review is ongoing and it will continue, regardless of the public discussion or the criticisms directed towards me, the Division of Police or the Administration.
To date, the review committee has reviewed the police radio communications, video recordings from several sources, automated vehicle locator (AVL) data, and duty reports for all 62 cars involved in the incident. We have interviewed supervisors from the 1st, 4th and 5th Districts and now that the State Bureau of Criminal Investigations has completed its review, we have begun interviewing the remaining officers, including supervisors from the 2nd and 3rd Districts.
The committee drove the pursuit route to view vehicular and pedestrian traffic, road conditions, lighting, and other conditions at the time of pursuit. They have reviewed relevant general police orders on pursuit, emergency response driving, road spikes, and duty reports. And, since BCI has released its files, we can now include that information in our review.
I have not drawn any conclusions regarding what took place on November 29th and will not until my review is finished. In the end, I will share with you the results of the review and what actions, if any, the Division of Police will take moving forward.
I have been in law enforcement for nearly 40 years. I took an oath of office to serve this community and I will continue to honor that oath. I take seriously my responsibility to the people I serve and the officers I command. I have not forgotten what it is like to be a patrol officer or a detective or a supervisor. I am the same Mike McGrath today as I was then and I’ll be the same Mike McGrath tomorrow. I know how difficult police work is and how much incidents like that which occurred on November 29th affect our community, our families and our officers.
That is why I am staying the course with the administrative review. Our process will continue to be thorough and the results will be fair. If we find policy and rule violations, we will hold officers accountable. If we find that officers did not violate our policies and rules, they will continue to have my full support.
Michael McGrath, chief, Cleveland Division of Police