Ashcroft Signs Historic Settlement

The Justice Department helped make history Friday morning.

At 10:30 a.m. in Cincinnati City Council chambers, Attorney General John Ashcroft signed the use of force and racial profiling settlements designed to improve police-community relations and resolve a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The group went to court in March 2001, accusing cops of illegally targeting and harassing African Americans for the past 30-years. A month later, Mayor Charlie Luken invited the federal government to review operations following the riot-sparking, fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by a white officer in Over-the-Rhine. Keeping its recommendations in mind, negotiators representing the city, police, Black United Front, and ACLU clocked close to 100 hours in meetings to form a collaborative.

Details include the creation of Community Problem Oriented Policing (CPOP), as well as a Citizen Complaint Authority, mutual accountability between the police and citizens, fair, equitable, and courteous treatment for all, and monitoring and dispute resolution.

Ashcroft called the "unprecedented agreement" a model to serve other cities striving to solve racial tensions between police and citizens.

"I dream that someday people in other settings that are having problems will say let's get some of those folks from Cincinnati to come and tell us how to work together to solve our problems," he claimed.

"I've already heard from Minneapolis," added U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott, who oversaw the talks. "I understand Miami's interested in our model as well