Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson's settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice will make way for a substantial – and substantive – overhaul of a use-of-force policy that top police brass once bragged was a model for the country.

Officers will be held to higher standards on unholstering and firing their weapons and no longer will be allowed to use their guns to strike suspects as they would with a baton.

They will be required to take immediate steps to provide or secure first aid for suspects they injure, addressing an issue raised in many lawsuits that cost the city money.

And retaliatory force – such as tussling with a suspect at the end of a chase – will be explicitly prohibited under terms of the so-called consent decree announced Tuesday.

The 105-page consent decree, which must be approved by a federal judge, calls for dozens of rewrites to the Division of Police rulebook on force, many of them tactical, Cleveland.com reports.

Many of the new rules will emphasize "de-escalation techniques." Officers will be told to give suspects a chance to surrender and to use verbal warnings before applying force.

Officers also will not be permitted to fire their guns at a moving vehicle "unless use of lethal force is justified by something other than the threat from the moving vehicle."

Aside from guns, the consent decree calls for refined policies governing the use of Tasers and pepper spray and for a ban on neck holds as a method of subduing a suspect.

 

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