The U.S. Department of Justice has closed its investigation into allegations of excessive force and sexual abuse by members of the Lorain, Ohio, Police Department, concluding that while those issues existed in the past, there is no longer a pattern of such misconduct by officers, reports the Lorain County Chronicle-Telegram. “During our investigation, we found that there were instances of excessive force in the years preceding our investigation, along with allegations of sexual misconduct,” Jonathan Smith, chief of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, wrote. “LPD’s management did not adequately address this misconduct, and failures in LPD’s accountability and discipline systems may have allowed the use of excessive force and sexual misconduct to continue.”
The Justice Department offered up a 30-page technical assistance report that recommends sweeping changes to the Police Department’s policies and procedures governing use of force, complaints about officers and how internal investigations are handled. The report also recommends the city “investigate and remedy command deficiencies that permitted LPD’s past use of excessive force.” Lorain Mayor Chase Ritenauer said although the investigation, which was launched in November 2008, pointed out numerous problems, the Justice Department would have taken far more serious action if those issues persisted.
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