This story could be ripped straight from The Onion, but it is actually true.
Cleveland, OH– Eight white Cleveland Police Department officers and one Hispanic officer are suing the city of Cleveland claiming that non-black officers are facing harsher discipline than black officers when they kill black people.
The lawsuit was filed on Friday, not even a week after a white Cleveland officer shot 12 year old Tamir Rice who playing with a toy gun in a park, then offered no first aid during the four minutes they spent watching the child die in agony.
The paperwork was filed the day before the two year anniversary of a deadly car chase where 13 officers fired 137 rounds into a car and left Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams dead, shot over 20 times each, despite them both being unarmed.
The lawsuit claims that the officers faced a harsher punishment because of the fact that they were white and their victims were black. It reads:
On October 24, 2013, the news media inquired about the status of the officers involved in the shooting. Then Chief of Police Defendant McGrath told the media he had no idea the officers were on active duty even though he placed them on active duty. As a result of the media inquiry, he ordered the officers who fired their weapons back to restrictive duty with in their own districts because it was politically expedient based upon the Plaintiffs being non-African Americans. McGrath ordered the commanders to inform the plaintiffs they could not work part time jobs. Plaintiffs were in effect subjected to “unofficial punishment” in violation of their constitutional rights.
The lawsuit alleges that there is a noticeably heavier punishment of being assigned to work in the gymnasium after killing a black person for non-blacks than blacks. Seriously.
A serious dichotomy exists as a result of the defendants’ longstanding practices and procedures which place onerous burdens on non-African American officers, including the plaintiffs, because of their race and the race of persons who are the subjects of the legitimate use of deadly force. Available statistics confirm that the City of Cleveland and the other defendants have created a glaring disparity in assignments to the gymnasium based upon race.
It continues on to say that the officers were bored, such tragedy.
Plaintiffs suffered adverse employment action and unfair punishment arising from the events of November 29, 2012 including but not limited to being assigned to boring and menial tasks in the gym with no of chance overtime, secondary employment, pay for court appearances, no chance to apply for promotions or transfers to specialized units, and being prohibited from engaging in active police work as they had grown accustomed and contracted for.
The document also states that officers should not be held responsible for the shooting because Attorney General Mike DeWine said the incident was part of a “systemic failure” by the department as a whole.
In February of 2013, the investigative division of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office (BCI) released its report finding the shootings occurred as a result of a “systemic failure in the Cleveland Police Department” including but not limited to a failure to supervise, a failure in radio procedure to permit all officers involved to be informed, and the failure of Detective Jordan to communicate his contact with the Russell vehicle to the department.
Do officers ever accept responsibility for their own murderous actions?
Last week the families of the two victims were each awarded 1.5 million dollars each in a settlement from the city, which of course will come from tax payers and not the officers’ wallets themselves.
We will keep you up to date on the outcome of this case. You can view the full lawsuit here.