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Cincinnati Police, Feds Settle

April 12, 2002

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CINCINNATI (AP) _ The amicable settlement of a Justice Department investigation of Cincinnati police is being hailed as a landmark resolution far different from those in other cities.

Attorney General John Ashcroft planned to meet with the City Council and attend a signing ceremony Friday.

A federal investigation was requested by Mayor Charlie Luken a year ago after the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black man led to the city’s worst riots in decades. The settlement accepts Justice Department recommendations for improving police operations.

The changes will tighten policies governing use of force, enhance training and improve record keeping. The agreement also commits Cincinnati to create an independent agency to investigate citizen complaints of police brutality.

Of most importance to the city, the agreement will not result in the Justice Department taking the city to court, as happened in many other cities in the 1990s.

Police departments nationwide were watching the Cincinnati case closely to see how the Bush administration would approach investigations of police agencies.

During the Clinton administration, the Justice Department had a record of aggressively going after allegations of police violations of civil rights, taking city after city to court.

Cincinnati went through a much smoother resolution _ and the agreement has been heralded by Republicans and Democrats in the City Council as well as black activists and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Pittsburgh, in contrast, ended a battle with the Justice Department in a court settlement. Pittsburgh officials have described former Attorney General Janet Reno’s investigators as secretive and aggressive, making the process more contentious than it needed to be.

``It was a very frustrating process for people here,″ said Susan Mailee, the Pittsburgh city attorney who was liaison with the Justice Department lawyers.

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