Thirteen Cleveland officers fired 137 rounds at two suspects following a deadly Nov. 29 pursuit. Photo: POLICE file

Thirteen Cleveland officers fired 137 rounds at two suspects following a deadly Nov. 29 pursuit. Photo: POLICE file

The U.S. Department of Justice opened an investigation to determine whether Cleveland police use excessive force and evaluate the department's training, supervision, and accountability mechanisms.

The DOJ investigation came in response to a deadly pursuit that involved one-third of the Cleveland Division of Police's on-duty force and resulted in the deaths of two subjects in a hail of gunfire. Mayor Frank Jackson requested the DOJ review.

As part of the civil-rights probe, federal investigators will seek input from community members and groups "for help in identifying potential problems within the police department," according to a DOJ releaase.

"Police officers across the country are called upon to protect and safeguard members of their communities and are afforded the authority they need to do so, including the authority to use deadly force," said Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division.  "It is absolutely imperative that officers use that authority responsibly and within the boundaries of the law."

Department officials have met with Jackson, Chief Michael McGrath, and Director of Public Safety Martin Flask.

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