Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Settlements at a glance

A quick look at what Cincinnati's police reform settlements are all about:

What are they?

Two legal agreements. One suspended a federal civil-rights lawsuit against the city that accused police of decades of racial discrimination. The other ended a Department of Justice investigation of the police department. The two agreements spell out specific deadlines for reforms of the Cincinnati Police Department involving use of force, citizen complaint procedures, and the tracking of problem officers, plus community involvement in reform.

Who is involved?

Lawyers for the city of Cincinnati, the Fraternal Order of Police, the U.S. attorney general, the Black United Front activist group and the American Civil Liberties Union signed the agreements in 2002. The agreements are overseen by an independent monitor who reports to U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott.

What sparked this reform?

The civil-rights lawsuit was filed in March 2001. In April, the fatal police shooting of an unarmed, fleeing African-American in Over-the-Rhine sparked days of riots and protests. That led federal investigators to begin an investigation of police conduct. In an attempt to settle both issues, city officials paid for a mediator to talk with community groups about conflicts between police and minorities. Groups included: minorities, city officials, police officers and their families, business leaders, religious leaders, social-service providers, media, community councils and youths. The mediator's reports were used to guide settlement negotiations.

What are the stumbling blocks?

The city has struggled to meet deadlines in both the Justice Department agreement and lawsuit settlement, known as the collaborative. Last year, Judge Dlott appointed a controversial monitor who resigned after a month on the job following complaints by the city, which threatened to pull out of the agreement. It took two months to find a new monitor: former U.S. Attorney Saul Green of Michigan. This month, Green issued his first report, which was critical of the police chief and the city administration for failing to meet deadlines and implement changes. Justice Department officials were equally critical of the city's pace of change. The Black United Front asked Judge Dlott to release it from the collaborative, saying it could not continue to promote an economic boycott of Cincinnati and work on community-police relations. Judge Dlott agreed.

What happened Tuesday?

The police union announced it also wants to be released from the collaborative settlement.

What's next?

Judge Dlott must decide whether the police union can back out of the settlement.

Erratic budgets let schools deteriorate
School built in 1876 near the end of its life
Tiny gym leaves team always the visitors
Old electrical systems stretched to capacity
Cramped quarters, crowded buildings
Wanted: a little grass, more room to play
Parents worry about lead paint in schools
History of inconsistency

Police want out of race accord
Agreement's yield: Contention
Settlements at a glance
Indian Hill to pool its power buys and save $
Drop gun suit, city advised
Morgue photos letter revealed
Football Classic lacking stadium
Bank One releases condo liens
Obituary: Austin M. Wright, 80, writer, teacher
Tristate A.M. Report

SMITH AMOS: A second chance
KORTE: City Hall
HOWARD: Some Good News

Health costs jump for Warren inmates
Time ripe for ammonia theft
Going Bananas
Levy would maintain buildings
Fernald to hold last tour for public
County seeks to preserve rare bridge

Ohio executes inmate 18 years after slaying
Ohio Moments

Gays win expanded rights coverage
Eatery reopens after slaying
Bob Woodward, 2 politicos to lecture at NKU this fall
Candidates endorse choice of care type covered by Medicaid
Slain Chicago police officer remembered
Police: Ex-boyfriend shot to death high school senior, self
Moonlite Bar matriarch dead at 83
Kentucky obituaries
Nunn wants to 'move on'
Police: 3 men shot to death, dumped in Kentucky River