US

As decisions near in 3 killings by Cleveland police, the wait is notable for its calm

FILE- In this Nov. 25, 2014, file photo, demonstrators block Public Square Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in Cleveland, during a protest over the police shooting of  12-year-old Tamir Rice. Cleveland’s politicians and community leaders are now working to make sure protests remain peaceful as the city awaits a verdict in the trial of a white officer in the deaths of the two unarmed people and a decision on whether charges will be filed in Rice's death. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)

FILE- In this Nov. 25, 2014, file photo, demonstrators block Public Square Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in Cleveland, during a protest over the police shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. Cleveland’s politicians and community leaders are now working to make sure protests remain peaceful as the city awaits a verdict in the trial of a white officer in the deaths of the two unarmed people and a decision on whether charges will be filed in Rice's death. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)  (The Associated Press)

For Cleveland's maligned police department, the barrage began with a car chase that ended when officers fired 137 rounds and killed two unarmed black people.

Then late last year, a white, rookie police officer shot and killed a 12-year-old black boy carrying a pellet gun in a park. Around the same time, a U.S. Justice Department report slammed the entire department, outlining a string of excessive force and civil rights violations.

Somehow, despite the repeated stains, Cleveland has been spared from violent protests that have erupted in places like Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri.

Ronnie Dunn is an urban affairs professor at Cleveland State University. He says what has helped ease the tension so far is Cleveland's long history of electing black leaders along with a strong network of seasoned activists and clergy in the black community.