Cleveland Police Brutality Lawyer

Police brutality is a human rights violation that can lead to severe injuries or death. It disproportionately affects minorities and other vulnerable groups. If you or a loved one were a victim of police brutality, contact Police Brutality Center. We can connect you with Cleveland police brutality lawyers who will seek to hold authorities responsible for their crimes. 

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Attorneys that work with Police Brutality Center may be able to assist you.

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Cleveland, Ohio, has a history of racial profiling and police brutality. In March 2023, more than a third of the East Cleveland, Ohio, police department was under indictment after prosecutors charged 11 former and current members with civil rights violations and public corruption. African Americans and other minorities are especially likely to be victims of police violence. 

Police brutality is a civil rights violation that can cause traumatizing injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder, and even death. If you or a loved one have been a victim of police misconduct, contact Police Brutality Center. We will match you with experienced Cleveland police brutality lawyers who can hold law enforcement responsible for their crimes. If the lawsuit is successful, you can recover financial compensation for your losses from the police brutality incident.

Police Misconduct Laws in Cleveland

Ohio and federal laws protect people against police misconduct. One notable protection is 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a federal statute allowing people to sue the police and other local government officials for violating one’s constitutional rights. Examples of police brutality and misconduct that violate the U.S. Constitution include:

Note, however, that Section 1983 only applies to violations of federally protected rights and cannot be used to launch lawsuits for state law violations. Police brutality victims who did not experience violations of federally protected rights may be eligible to pursue false arrest and wrongful death claims under Ohio law. Talk to a Cleveland police misconduct lawyer at Police Brutality Center to learn more about your legal options.

Cleveland Police Department History

The Cleveland Police Department has long been known for excessive force and civil rights violations. 

Notably, during the Civil Rights era, the police often clashed with Cleveland’s Black community. The Hough Uprising occurred in the summer of 1966 after years of discrimination against Black residents. It led to days of looting, vandalism, gun violence, and arson. Four Black residents were killed—including two by police. Around 30 people were injured, and 275 were arrested. 

The Hough Uprising was far from the only police brutality incident in Cleveland. A close look at documents written by task forces, commissions, and other police committees from 1922 to 2022 has shown recurring Cleveland police misconduct, including excessive use of force, biased police actions, and oppression of many Brown and Black civilians. 

Unsurprisingly, more than a third of officers in the East Cleveland Police Department were charged in March 2023 with civil rights and abuse charges. Prosecutors cited 31 separate incidents from 2018 to 2022, claiming police treatment of residents was similar to torture.

This toxic culture may be affecting officers’ decisions to stay with the Cleveland police force. As of 2023, the Cleveland police department has lost nearly 390 officers over the past two years and currently struggles to hire replacements.

Cases of Police Brutality in Cleveland

There have been several cases of Cleveland police misconduct and brutality, including the following examples.

The Glenville Shootout (1968)
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One of the first notable cases of Cleveland police brutality was the Glennville Shootout, an hour-long gunfight that happened July 23, 1968, between three white police officers, three Black nationalists, and one Black civilian.

This event arose when Fred “Ahmed” Evans, leader of the Black Nationalists of New Libya, began amassing weapons to defend himself and the Black community. In the summer of 1968, tensions between Evans and the Cleveland Police Department heightened, ending in a violent confrontation. 

According to police, Evans orchestrated the shootout, but Evans and other witnesses said that police violence and aggression had instigated the incident. The police department’s version of events swayed mainstream media and white residents. Consequently, blame for the destruction and bloodshed was placed on Evans while police aggression, racism, and violence were ignored.
Tamir Rice (2014)
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In November 2014, a 12-year-old African American boy, Tamir Rice, was shot to death by a white Cleveland police officer. Rice was carrying a replica toy gun when police received a dispatch call about him. The caller claimed that a male was pointing a gun at random people in a public park. The caller also said that the gun was "probably fake" and that the male was "probably a juvenile," but the dispatcher did not relay these statements to the police officer who shot and killed Rice.

To seek justice and compensation for Rice's wrongful death, his family filed a lawsuit against the city of Cleveland, and the city reached a six-million-dollar settlement with Rice's family.
Desmond Franklin (2020)
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In 2020, off-duty Cleveland police officer Jose Garcia shot and killed Desmond Franklin, a 22-year-old African American. Garcia shot into Franklin's car as he drove beside him in his vehicle. Garcia was not driving a police car or in uniform. He claimed that he saw Franklin and another individual steal soda from a truck and that Franklin threatened to shoot him.

Although this case went to trial, the grand jury declined to bring charges against Garcia for voluntary manslaughter, murder, aggravated assault, and felonious assault. Franklin's family attorney, Stanley Jackson, said he was disappointed in the jury's decision but will continue pursuing the case, potentially in civil court.

Cleveland Police Brutality Lawyers 

Cleveland is home to several notable police brutality and civil rights lawyers, including the following:

Subodh Chandra: A former federal prosecutor, large-firm litigator, and law director for the City of Cleveland, Subodh Chandra is the founding and managing partner of The Chandra Law Firm LLC. He focuses on high-profile civil rights litigation, including police brutality cases. Some of the results he has achieved for clients include:

Robert Greshem: Attorney Robert Greshem is an experienced Ohio lawyer specializing in police brutality claims, wrongful death, civil rights litigation, and more. He was one of the youngest members to serve as a commissioner on the Ohio Supreme Court Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline. He speaks extensively and frequently on Miranda Rights issues and community-police interactions throughout Ohio. 

If you are a victim of police misconduct or brutality, Police Brutality Center may be able to assist you in getting legal help by connecting you with a skilled police brutality lawyer.

Why Work With a Police Brutality Lawyer?

Although it’s technically possible to file a police brutality lawsuit alone, you should work with a Cleveland police misconduct lawyer to ensure you get maximum compensation. Here are some ways an experienced Cleveland police brutality attorney can help:

Filing a Civil Rights Claim in Cleveland

Victims of civil rights violations in Cleveland can file a claim with the Cuyahoga County Human Rights Commission. The Commission was established in 2018 to ensure equal treatment and opportunity for all county residents. It hears and decides on discrimination complaints through a neutral process, giving complainants and respondents the chance to present testimony and evidence at an administrative hearing.

The Commission aims to be more fair and comprehensive than the traditional legal process, which often takes longer to reach a resolution. Additionally, by giving each side a chance to settle the case through mediation, the Commission can provide more solutions than the traditional legal process.

You have two options for filing a complaint with the Cuyahoga County Human Rights Commission:

Talk to a Cleveland civil rights lawyer to learn more about filing civil rights claims.

Police Reform in Cleveland

In light of Cleveland’s history of racial profiling and police brutality, the Cleveland Police Department has implemented significant initiatives to reform internal corruption

In 2014, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department critically reviewed the Cleveland Police Department’s use-of-force practices and policies and called for sweeping reforms. Six Justice Department attorneys and several independent policing experts performed the investigation and discovered that systemic racial biases had long haunted Cleveland’s police department. The problems included inadequate training, insufficient accountability, ineffective policies, and poor community engagement.

In 2015, U.S. District Judge Solomon Oliver approved an agreement between the City of Cleveland and the United States Department of Justice to create changes within the Cleveland Division of Police. This agreement did the following:

The Police Brutality Center Can Help Individuals and Families Affected by Civil Rights Violations

Police brutality in Cleveland is a civil rights violation that can harm communities and change families forever. If you were injured or have had a family member killed because of a civil rights violation, contact Police Brutality Center. We have in-depth resources to help you protect your community and your loved one’s civil rights and can determine your eligibility for suing a police department. Fill in this form to learn more about how we can help you.