University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name U.S. v. City of Warren PN-OH-0004
Docket / Court 4:12-cv-00086-BYP ( N.D. Ohio )
State/Territory Ohio
Case Type(s) Policing
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
In 2006, the U.S. Department of Justice opened an investigation into policing practices in Warren, Ohio. In March of 2006, the DOJ issued a findings letter advising the Warren Police Department (WPD) to revise and update its policies and procedures to be consistent and comprehensive. The DOJ found ... read more >
In 2006, the U.S. Department of Justice opened an investigation into policing practices in Warren, Ohio. In March of 2006, the DOJ issued a findings letter advising the Warren Police Department (WPD) to revise and update its policies and procedures to be consistent and comprehensive. The DOJ found that many officers did not follow WPD's policies, and among other things suggested that WPD revise its policies governing use of force and retrain its officers on its body-cavity and strip search policies.

On January 13, 2012, the Department of Justice filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio against the City of Warren, Ohio, and its police department. The United States, represented by the Department of Justice, brought the action under 42 U.S.C. § 14141 and asked the court for a declaratory judgment that Warren Police Department's ("WPD") policing practices--especially the use of excessive force--infringed on individuals' constitutionally-protected rights. The United States also requested an order that the WPD cease such practices by implementing policies to remedy their transgressive effect.

According to the complaint, the WPD's failure to implement adequate policies to guide, train, supervise, and monitor its officers resulted in a pattern of conduct involving the use of excessive force. The complaint also included allegations that the WPD's policy governing the intake and investigation of complaints was inadequate and, furthermore, that it had failed to adequately review incidents involving the use of force and discipline officers who engaged in misconduct.

The parties quickly reached a settlement, which the Court (Judge Benita Y. Pearson) approved January 26, 2012. The agreement required the WPD to adopt new protocols involving the use a force, develop procedures to document and evaluate uses of force, institute systems for tracking and investigating citizens' complaints, and implement training encompassing constitutional policing. In addition, the DOJ reserved the right to monitor the WPD's compliance with the agreement, and the Court retained jurisdiction for at least two years to ensure compliance.

On July 3, 2019, the U.S. filed a motion stating that WPD had "faithfully and fully" complied with the requirements of the settlement agreement. The parties filed a joint motion to terminate the settlement agreement. Judge Pearson granted the motion on August 12, 2019. The case is now closed.

David Postel - 01/27/2014
Will McCartney - 03/25/2018
Elizabeth Helpling - 03/13/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Unreasonable search and seizure
Content of Injunction
Auditing
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Monitor/Master
Monitoring
Recordkeeping
Reporting
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
General
Excessive force
Failure to discipline
Failure to supervise
Failure to train
Grievance Procedures
Inadequate citizen complaint investigations and procedures
Incident/accident reporting & investigations
Pattern or Practice
Search policies
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 14141
Defendant(s) City of Warren
Plaintiff Description United States of America (Department of Justice)
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2012 - 2019
Filed 01/03/2012
Case Closing Year 2019
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  U.S. V. Warren, OH: The Case for Applying Aristotelian Modeling in Police Reform
U. Mich. J.L. Reform Online
Date: 2018
By: Alicia McCaffrey (University of Michigan Law Student)
Citation: 51 U. Mich. J.L. Reform Online 1-20
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Data examining the Department of Justice's civil rights investigations of local and state police departments
Marshall Project
Date: Jan. 17, 2017
By: Tom Meagher (Marshall Project)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  The Civil Rights Division’s Pattern and Practice Police Reform Work: 1994-Present
https://www.justice.gov/
Date: Jan. 4, 2017
By: U.S. Department of Justice
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  An Interactive Guide to the Civil Rights Division’s Police Reforms
https://www.justice.gov/
Date: Jan. 4, 2017
By: U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division (U.S. Department of Justice)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  What Happens When Police Are Forced to Reform?
Date: Nov. 13, 2015
By: Kimbriell Kelly, Sarah Childress and Steven Rich (Frontline/Post)
Citation: Washington Post (Nov. 13, 2015)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
4:12−cv−00086 (N.D. Ohio)
PN-OH-0004-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/12/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Re: Warren Police Department
PN-OH-0004-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/02/2006
Justice Department Settles with Warren, Ohio, Police Department
PN-OH-0004-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/13/2012
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PN-OH-0004-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/13/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Settlement Agreement [ECF# 4]
PN-OH-0004-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/26/2012
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Compliance Assessment Letter
PN-OH-0004-0005.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 12/18/2013
Appendix - Settlement Agreement Compliance Chart - December 18, 2013
PN-OH-0004-0006.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 12/18/2013
Compliance Assessment Letter
PN-OH-0004-0007.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 01/21/2015
Appendix - Settlement Agreement Compliance Chart - January 21, 2015
PN-OH-0004-0008.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 01/21/2015
Order [ECF# 9] (N.D. Ohio)
PN-OH-0004-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/12/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Pearson, Benita Yalonda (N.D. Ohio) show/hide docs
PN-OH-0004-0009 | PN-OH-0004-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Austin, Roy L. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-OH-0004-0003 | PN-OH-0004-0004
Bharara, Preetinder S. (New York) show/hide docs
PN-OH-0004-0002
Brown Cutlar, Shanetta Y. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-OH-0004-0001
Dettelbach, Steven M (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-OH-0004-0003 | PN-OH-0004-0004
Geissler, R. Jonas (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-OH-0004-0003 | PN-OH-0004-0004 | PN-OH-0004-0005
Heyer, Michelle L (Ohio) show/hide docs
PN-OH-0004-0003 | PN-OH-0004-0004 | PN-OH-0004-9000
Holder, Eric H. Jr. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-OH-0004-0003
Morse, Thomas Jackson (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-OH-0004-0007
Mygatt, Timothy D (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-OH-0004-0003 | PN-OH-0004-0004
Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-OH-0004-0003 | PN-OH-0004-0004
Sanders, Corey M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-OH-0004-9000
Smith, Jonathan Mark (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PN-OH-0004-0003 | PN-OH-0004-0004
Defendant's Lawyers Hicks, Gregory V. (Ohio) show/hide docs
PN-OH-0004-0001
Sanders, James E. (Ohio) show/hide docs
PN-OH-0004-9000
Taylor, Hilary S. (Ohio) show/hide docs
PN-OH-0004-9000

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