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What’s Happening In the Town of East Cleveland with Corrupt Police? A Third of the Force Faces Charges, Including Ex-Chief for ‘Torturing’ Residents

An investigation into the East Cleveland Police Department has led to over a third of the force being indicted on various charges related to criminal police misconduct.

Over the past seven months, 16 officers have been charged with crimes, including the department’s former police chief.

The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office and the Cleveland Division of the FBI hosted a news conference on March 8 where they announced the indictment of members of the law enforcement agency.

East Cleveland Police Corruption
More than a third of the East Cleveland, Ohio, police department is now under indictment. (Photo: ABC News/ YouTube screenshot)

During the announcement, police bodycam footage was released showing officers violating citizens’ civil rights, including kicking, stomping, and excessively beating suspects in custody, sometimes while the detainees are handcuffed, on their knees, and complying with officers’ orders, ABC News reports.

The feds maintain the department is ridden with corruption and has “tortured” the residents they were sworn to serve and protect.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael C. O’Malley said, “The real victim here was the entire city, all the citizens of East Cleveland, who had to live in a city with fear.”

East Cleveland is a small city with a population of 13,586 people, nine miles east of the city of Cleveland.

East Cleveland Mayor Brandon King saluted O’Malley for “helping our police department root out these individuals who have committed these alleged offenses” before noting the officers were originally the subjects of an internal investigation — seeking to weed out bad cops.

At the news conference, O’Malley played excerpts from nine different police bodycam videos that appeared to show officers abusing members of the community who appeared to be complying with their orders.

King said the city-funded bodycams were crucial to the development of the indictments, as they provided the evidence to undergird the charges.

“Last year, we were able to upgrade our cameras. The new cameras, the new systems, aren’t reliant on officers to activate them, which lessens the possibility of human error,” King informed.

O’Malley pointed out, “People in these videos were giving up, they were showing their hands, they were not threats.”

One clip showed an officer pushing a man though his hands were raised and later kicking him in his groin area. Another video shows another person being stomped by an officer while he is lying on the ground after already being taken into police custody.

Still, an additional video captured one officer shouting at a man who is clearly on his knees, telling him to lie down on his stomach. After a moment, the cop looks as if he is kicking the individual in his back and then knocking him to the concrete.

The prosecutor said he was “appalled” seeing officers assault community members, including stomping one man in the head who was detained with handcuffs and even tasing him after he was already complying.

“I was appalled that we could be witnessing a guy handcuffed and his head stomped, or witnessing a guy handcuffed and being tased while handcuffed repeatedly, which to me is a form of torture,” O’Malley stated.

O’Malley also said, according to CNN, “Make no mistake, there has been a cancer growing in the East Cleveland Police Department. We are doing our best to remove every tentacle of that cancer so that this department can rebuild and grow to put itself in a position to hire officers who enforce the law as well as follow the law.”

In September, five East Cleveland cops were charged with crimes. Among that number was Scott Gardner, the former police chief who was knocked on multiple counts of theft and fraud. The current move identified 11 more officers who exploited the power of the badge while policing. So many officers have been indicted and accused of dishonoring the department only two dozen officers remain eligible to work.

The current indictments have been fueled by over 30 incidents that happened between June 2018 and July 2022, and names John Hartman, Nicholas Foti, Ian McInnes, Kyle Wood, Tyler Mundson, Brian Stoll, and Laurice Mans. Also indicted were Brian Parks, Daniel Toomer, Tristan Homan, and Tre DeHart Robinson as bad actors within the ECPD.

Homan, who is currently a rookie officer in the Elyria Police Department, was fired after his misconduct charges with ECPD were released on Wednesday, according to The Chronicle.

Elyria Safety Service Director Matt Lundy said the charges were so disturbing the city immediately started proceedings to end his employment.

“The incident leading to the indictment is disturbing and shows behavior not acceptable to our department. The city had no knowledge of the incident or any investigation prior to his hire in October of 2022. There is now a legal and investigation process to follow,” Lundy said in a statement.

Online records show Homan, with the other 10, will be arraigned in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday, March 28.

Elyria Police Chief William Pelko said, “We at the Elyria Police Department do not condone or tolerate this behavior. With that said we have had discussions with city hall to move towards the termination of Officer Homan.”

East Cleveland City Council President Juanita Gowdy said she was “shocked” at the news about the officers’ conduct and is hoping that other law enforcement agencies will step in and help to supplement the understaffed police department.

“I’m disappointed, and I’m really upset. This should never happen like this. I’m looking forward to having the sheriff to come out and support us because we definitely are going to need help,” Gowdy said.

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