Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Gregory Campbell


According to previous research, African Americans in Cleveland, OH, reported having more negative experiences with the Cleveland Police Department (CPD) than any other demographic in the city. Furthermore, The U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, determined that the CPD had regularly engaged in excessive force by police officers. This study's purpose was to understand African Americans' experiences in Cleveland regarding the CPD. This study's research question focused on African Americans' experiences in Cleveland and their relationship with the Cleveland police. The study used a general qualitative design to conduct interviews with 10 African Americans between the ages of 18 and 39 who have lived in Cleveland for 5 years. African Americans have a history of negative police experiences. Therefore, punctuated equilibrium theory was used as the framework to understand this phenomenon. Participants' responses were coded, grouped into categories, and themes were created from the data that identified experiences with the Cleveland police. Overall, participants noted they had no positive relationships with the Cleveland police. Participants' experiences were negative due to favoritism, excessive force, indifference, and a general apprehension when dealing with the Cleveland police. The severe lack of trust in the Cleveland police formed the basis of the participants' negative experiences. The study's findings have the potential for positive social change by informing the public, police, and key decision-makers on policy recommendations.