WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Cleveland has reached a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department over what federal authorities said was a pattern of unconstitutional policing and excessive use of force, the New York Times reported on Monday. The settlement could be announced as early as Tuesday, the newspaper said, citing people briefed on the matter. The settlement would come days after a judge declared a white Cleveland police officer not guilty in the shooting deaths of an unarmed black man and a woman in 2012. The verdict on Saturday prompted protests that led to at least 71 arrests. The details of the settlement were not immediately clear, the Times said. In similar negotiations in recent years, the Justice Department has insisted that cities allow independent monitors to oversee changes inside police departments. Settlements are typically backed by court orders and often call for improved training and revised use-of-force policies. Spokesmen for the Justice Department, the Cleveland police and Mayor Frank Jackson had no immediate response to requests for comment. The results of a Justice Department investigation released in December found Cleveland police systematically engaged in excessive use of force. Just days before the report was released, a Cleveland police officer shot and killed Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy who was carrying what turned out to be a replica gun that typically fires plastic pellets. The shooting is under investigation. The Justice Department has opened nearly two dozen investigations into police departments during the administration of President Barack Obama. Federal authorities said this month they would investigate police in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray, a black man who died of injuries he suffered while in police custody. Six officers have been indicted in Gray's death. (Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Peter Cooney)
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