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Cops sue Cleveland over 2012 shooting
01:42 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

The nine officers allege racial discrimination

They are seeking an unspecified amount of damages

The suit comes on the heels of another high-profile police shooting in Cleveland

CNN  — 

Officers involved in a 2012 shooting in Cleveland are suing the city and police officials, alleging racial discrimination.

They claim the defendants have a pattern of treating non-African American officers harsher than African American officers, when it comes to officer-involved shootings of African Americans. The plaintiffs in the federal suit are not African American.

The incident cited in the suit began when officers saw a car speeding and heard what they thought was a gunshot directed towards them.

It involved a nearly 25-minute chase and ended in a hail of 137 bullets, killing two people. Both were African American.

No weapon was ever found in the car.

In the wake of the shooting, the plaintiffs say they were placed on administrative leave for three days before reporting “to the gym” for a 45-day cooling off period.

Months later, most of them were permitted to return to full duty, but they were then ordered back on restrictive duty, in a move the lawsuit claims was “politically expedient.”

They remained on restrictive duty until June 2014 and so missed out on potential wages and chances to apply for promotions and transfers, according to the lawsuit.

The nine plaintiffs allege their treatment was because of their race.

“The City of Cleveland, through the other named defendants, and the other named defendants in their individual capacities, have a history of treating non-African American officers involved in the shootings of African Americans substantially harsher than African American officers,” reads the lawsuit, filed Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

It continues: “A serious dichotomy exists as a result of the defendants’ longstanding practices and procedures which place onerous burdens on non-African American officers, including the plaintiffs, because of their race and the race of persons who are the subjects of the legitimate use of deadly force.”

The plaintiffs are seeking an unspecified amount of damages.

After-hours attempts Sunday to reach representatives of the city and police department were unsuccessful.

The lawsuit comes on the heels of another high-profile police shooting in Cleveland.

A 12-year-old boy died a week ago Sunday after being shot outside a recreation center. He had what police have said was an air gun that looked like a real firearm.

Authorities are investigating that shooting, and the two officers involved are on leave from their jobs.

In March 2013, the U.S. Justice Department announced an investigation into the use of force by Cleveland police, citing several incidents. That investigation is also ongoing.

CNN’s Sarah Jorgensen and Lateef Mungin contributed to this report.