FBI Indicts 16 East Cleveland Police Officers for Civil Rights Violations

FBI Indicts 16 East Cleveland Police Officers for Civil Rights Violations


Photo: Screenshot, Twitter)

A total of 16 current and former East Cleveland police officers have been indicted in the past six-and-a-half months for civil rights violations.

Among the 16 who were indicted by the FBI is former police chief Scott Gardner, who was indicted in September on several counts of theft and fraud.

East Cleveland, Ohio, is nine miles east of Cleveland. The population is a majority Black, with Black people making up 89.48 percent of the population and white comprising just 8.17 percent.

Prosecutors alleged some of their abuse perpetrated on residents was akin to “torture,” ABC News reported.

The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office and the Cleveland Division of the FBI announced the latest indictments. They released police body camera footage showing the officers allegedly beating, kicking, and stomping people. Several people were attacked after being handcuffed and appearing to comply with officers’ orders to get on their knees.

“People in these videos were giving up, they were showing their hands, they were not threats,” said Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael C. O’Malley.

In one of the videos an officer is seen repeatedly stomping on a man who was in police custody on the ground. Another video shows a cop commanding an individual shown on his knees to lie down on his stomach and then allegedly kicking the person in the back, knocking him to the pavement.

“There has been a cancer growing in the East Cleveland Police Department,” Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael C. O’Malley said when announcing the charges back on March 8. “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.”

The indictments stemmed from 31 separate incidents between June 2018 and July 2022, according to prosecutors.

The indictments impact nearly one-third of the police department, leaving the city, which has a population of 12,577, with just 24 remaining officers on the force, officials said.

On March 29, 10 East Cleveland police officers had their bond set at $10,000 each. All 10 pleaded not guilty during the hearing. They are all expected back in court for a pretrial hearing on April 11. Charges in the case include felonious assault, interfering with civil rights, dereliction of duty, theft in office, and tampering with evidence, among other allegations, WKYC reported.

Photo: Screenshot, Twitter, https://twitter.com/TheBWSTimes/status/1640700392261447682?s=20