Nine white, Hispanic Cleveland police officers file racial discrimination suit against city

The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, alleges that the city and other defendants discriminated against them based on race and deprived them of their constitutional rights to due process and equal protection under the law. It also alleges violations of the officers’ employment contracts.

Nine Cleveland officers involved in a deadly 2012 police shooting that left two people dead accuse the department of racial discrimination in a federal lawsuit against the city and various police officials.

The lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court by eight white officers and one Hispanic officer says the department has a history of treating nonblack officers who shoot blacks more harshly than black officers who shoot blacks. Messages seeking comment Sunday from Cleveland’s law department and a city spokesman weren’t immediately returned.

Dozens of officers were involved in the November 2012 high-speed chase of a vehicle in which two unarmed people died in a 137-shot barrage of police gunfire. Thirteen officers fired at the vehicle carrying 43-year-old driver Timothy Russell and 30-year-old passenger Malissa Williams.

Relatives of Russell and Williams will split a recent $3 million settlement of their lawsuit against the city. The U.S. Justice Department is conducting an investigation of the police department’s pursuit and use of force tactics.

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