THE THIN BLUE LINE, OHIO STYLE
‘A cancer growing’
Eleven former and current officers from an Ohio police department riddled with corruption and brutality were indicted Wednesday on charges they assaulted and bullied citizens who presented no threat.
The indictments bring to 16 the number of law enforcement officers in East Cleveland who have been charged in the last seven months. So many cops have been sidelined that the City Council made an emergency request for reinforcements from the state police and county sheriff.
“Make no mistake There has been a cancer growing in the East Cleveland Police Department,” Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley said at a press conference. “We are doing our best to remove every tentacle of that cancer, so this department can rebuild and grow to put itself in a position to hire officers who will enforce the law as well as follow the law. This is a sad day for all of law enforcement.” O’Malley released video of the incidents that led to the indictments—essentially a supercut of sometimes gleeful brutality against helpless men.
CLEVELAND, Ohio – One officer stomped on a victim as he was being pushed to the ground. Another kicked a kneeling victim from behind. Another unleashed a flurry of hook punches to a man curled up in the street, followed by a strike to the groin, while a fellow officer yelled, “Get his ass, boy!” Yet another officer repeatedly tased a defenseless man in what Cuyahoga County’s top prosecutor described as “a form of torture.”
Cops were also shown punching a man in handcuffs who was already bleeding from the head and had a broken pelvis. The prosecutor said he had been hit by the police car.
A Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas grand jury on Wednesday handed up an indictment charging 11 current and former East Cleveland police officers with a host of crimes based largely on several incidentscaptured off video and revealing astonishing brutality.
The videos, portions of which were released on Wednesday by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office in a 14-minute clip, show officers pummeling, tasing, kicking and stomping citizens who were holding their hands up or otherwise defenseless.
O’Malley estimated that there are now only 20 active officers in the East Cleveland Police Department. With Wednesday’s announcement, 16 current or former East Cleveland police officers have been indicted on criminal charges over the last seven months. “All of these officers, when appointed to these positions, took an oath to serve and protect the public. These actions you are about to see are a complete violation of their oaths,” said O’Malley.
The charges include:
Attempted felonious assault
Interfering with civil rights
Dereliction of duty
Theft in office
Tampering with evidence
Tampering with records
Disrupting public service
Two were charged with robbing six people of cash, guns, and drugs while on patrol.
Altogether, the 16 indicted East Cleveland officers have been involved in 31 separate incidents ranging from June 2018-July 2022. The incidents involve a total of 17 victims.
“There are good police officers in East Cleveland who come to work every day and do what is right. Unfortunately, there is a substantial number who were doing what isn’t right, what has led to these indictments over the past six months,” said O’Malley.
❋The former East Cleveland police chief, Scott Gardner, was charged last year with stealing from the city and not paying taxes.