U.S. District Judge Murray Snow has appointed a monitor to keep track of the activities of the Sheriff and his department. Sheriff Joe will still have full power to assign duties and to do the day to day directing of his force, but the monitor can file a complaint if he or she feels that the department is guilty of violating the court order. The court would then make a decision, whether Sheriff joe had violated the agreement.
One of the complaints lodged against Sheriff Joe was that he had excessive patrols in Hispanic neighborhoods. That could be because there is more crime in some of those areas. Most police departments assign more patrols in that type of situation.
However, it could create a dangerous situation for those neighborhoods that will be getting less scrutiny. Cincinnati, Ohio provides a good example of that. Over a 7 year period 15 blacks were killed in confrontations with police or while in police custody. Three did not use weapons in their crimes. It set off three nights of riots and the democratic mayor, Charley Luken decided to abandon the police and took the side of the rioters.
It should be noted that not one officer was ever found criminally libel for any of the deaths and none lost wrongful death suits brought against them. The police department itself was found guilty of providing not enough training. A monitor was appointed there as well as a civilian review board.
As a result, patrols through the Over-the-Rhine district and Avondale section of Cincinnati, were curtailed and police worried about overzealous prosecution that financially and emotionally dewstroyed their lives , made less stops of suspicious looking people, although they diligently answered every emergency call.
The result was in the first three months under the new system there were six times more shootings than in the previous three months (before the monitor was appointed) And of the 77 shooting victims, 76 were black.
The judge in the Sheriff Joe case may have been aware of that precedent and did not take the harsh steps they took in Cincinnati, but by reducing patrols, some of the negative effects may repeat themselves. Whether you like Sheriff Joe or not the safety of the citizens should be of the utmost importance.
The lawyer representing Sheriff Joe was fairly pleased with the way the ruling was written and does not think it will unduly limit him in the performance of his duties. “The sheriff is still in exclusive charge of the MCSO.”
Time will tell. There is still a federal complaint filed by Eric Holder to be resolved, which is farther reaching and includes possible violations of federal statutes.