The Perception of Corruption?

Corruption is defined as “dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power“.  Falsifying police reports and tampering with official police recorders so that misconduct would not be documented would certainly beperceived by the average layperson as “corrupt”.  Using excessive force against persons who witnessed police misconduct would be perceived by the average layperson as “corrupt”.  When those in power turned a blind eye and condoned this type of conduct, the average layperson would perceive that this behavior was “corrupt”.

In August 1997, a second consent degree was reached with a police department under the “pattern or practice” provision, with the city of Steubenville, Ohio and its police force.218 In its complaint, the Justice Department alleges the city and the police department have engaged in a pattern or practice of subjecting individuals to excessive force, false arrests, charges, and reports, improper stops, searches, and seizures.219 The complaint states that Steubenville officials have caused and condoned this conduct through their inadequate use-of-force policies; inappropriate off-duty-conduct policies; and failure to supervise, train, discipline, monitor and investigate police officers and alleged misconduct. Among the offenses, Steubenville police officers allegedly used excessive force against individuals who witnessed incidents of police misconduct, who were known critics of the department or were disliked by individual officers, and who were falsely arrested or charged persons believed likely to complain of abuse. Further, officers allegedly falsified reports and tampered with official police recorders so that misconduct would not be recorded.

The city agreed to improve training, implement use-of-force guidelines and reporting procedures, create an internal affairs unit, and establish an early warning system to track use-of-force reports, civilian complaints and civil lawsuits to identify officers requiring increased training or supervision.

  Source The Consent Decree issued by the US Department of Justice specifically cites incidents of Constitutionally illegal behaviors.  It also required the implementation of policies and training to ensure that these incidents no longer occurred.  The City of Steubenville agreed to ensure that City law enforcement officers NOT behave in a manner that “deprived persons of rights, privileges, and immunities secured and protected by the Constitution and laws of the United States”.


1. The United States brings this action to enforce Section 210401 of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C. § 14141. The United States alleges that officers of the Steubenville Police Department have engaged in a pattern or practice of conduct that deprives persons of rights, privileges, or immunities secured and protected by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, and that the City of Steubenville, the Steubenville Police Department, and the Steubenville City Manager (in his capacity as Director of Public Safety) have caused and condoned this conduct through inadequate policies and failure to train, monitor, supervise, and discipline police officers, and to investigate alleged misconduct.

2. The defendants in this action are the City of Steubenville, a municipality in the State of Ohio; the Steubenville Police Department (“SPD”), a law enforcement agency operated by the City of Steubenville; the Steubenville City Manager, an employee of the City of Steubenville who serves as the Director of Public Safety, and in that capacity, oversees the SPD and other agencies operated for the safety of persons in Steubenville; and the Steubenville Civil Service Commission, an agency of the City of Steubenville with authority for hiring and review authority for disciplining SPD officers. The defendants are hereinafter referred to collectively as “the City.”


21. The City shall develop and implement use of force policies that comply with applicable law and current professional standards. The policies shall include provisions governing use of deadly force, other uses of force, drawing of weapons, roadblocks, vehicular pursuits, and hostage situations. The City also shall develop and implement new policies on off-duty responsibilities and off-duty gun use. Prior to implementation, the policies must be reviewed by the independent auditor and approved by the United States.

Consent Decree:

The Rev. Maurice D. White at the St. John’s Lutheran Church said:

“At this very hour war is being declared in our town, a war which might better be termed a program of rat extermination, a war against men, machines, and powers which have made this city and its environs the hellhole of the State of Ohio. An energetic and enthusiastic resolve to rid this community of the scabs, parasites, the cheaters who have drained the lifeblood of decent living and have made of ita contaminated stream of corruption, is in the air. Too long has Steubenville enjoyed the dubious reputation of being a ‘Little Chicago,’ the open vice den of America.

Too long have men used this town as a dive in which they might go slumming. Too long has the atmosphere of our town been polluted with the vile salacious odor of immorality. Too long have politicians and public office-holders evidenced utter disregard for the law; too long have they neglected solemn responsibilities; too long have they used their office for personal gain. “Too long have our children had to be reared in the environment of the foul, the degenerate. Too long have the reputable citizens of this community turned a blind eye on the evil about them; too long have they complacently given up in despair. “It’s time for war, a war long overdue. It’s time for righteous wrath and indignation to be crystallized into action. It’s high time that war be declared on the enemies within our gates.”

  The above quote from Reverend White was written in a book published in 1947 called 12 Against the Underworld. The book is written about Steubenville, Ohio. Those are very strong words coming from one of twelve pastors and priests who took on the underbelly of their town in the hopes that they could make it a better place to live. It is very uninformed for someone to accuse me of creating a perception of corruption in their town — when that perception…verified or not…has been there longer than I have been alive.

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