Two East Cleveland, Ohio police officers were fired three days ago after a robbery suspect accused them of beating him up and pushing him down a cliff, as reported by CNN. However, this was not a case of white cops using excessive force on a black man, the two cops who were fired were both black men themselves. Cleveland Mayor, Gary Norton would not give any details but said the two could face charges of police brutality, kidnapping, and assault as well as other charges.
“We are not dealing with an issue of race,” the mayor said.
“We are dealing with what is in the minds of individuals that are empowered with a badge and a gun. It is a sickening thing to have to deal with as a mayor.”
East Cleveland police chief Michael Cardilli began investigating the incident and suspended the officers without pay within 12 hours of his investigation. The two officers were finally fired within 36 hours of the investigation, the mayor said. Jill Del Greco, a spokeswoman for the Ohio attorney general’s office said that the case has been turned over to the state for further investigation of excessive police force. Mayor Norton said that “this is why people are afraid of the police, and we won’t stand for it.”
The suspect, Jesse Nickerson, was arrested by the two policemen after he allegedly stole an iPhone. The suspect complained to a supervisor after his arrest that he was beaten and pushed down a cliff. Nickerson’s attorney, Heather McCullough said she was shocked when she heard what had happened to her client.
“It was a complete shock… He told me they had taken him to the park, beaten him up and thrown him over a cliff. He had an obvious injury to his face. When he first came into the courtroom, he stumbled a little bit and he was doubled over.”
Chief Cardilli said that Nickerson showed “visible signs of an altercation and sustained minor abrasions. The names of the two police officers who were fired are Denayne Dixon and Gerald Spencer. Dixon was a full-time officer who has worked for the police department since October of 2014, and Spencer was a part-time officer since May 2015.
This is not the first time Cleveland police have been charged with police brutality, although the East Cleveland police department is separate from the Cleveland police department. In 2014, federal investigators found that there was a pattern of abuse at the Cleveland Police Department according to the NY Times. The conclusion was made after almost two years of civil rights investigations of the Cleveland police. The city of Cleveland agreed to work with the Justice Department to overhaul and tighten policies on the use of force. The police department was also to be overseen by an independent monitor to ensure that the practices were stopped. At that time, Cleveland was said to be 53 percent black and 37 percent white, while the 1,551 employed police department was almost the exact reverse: 25 percent black and 65 percent white.
Cleveland police officers were also under fire a few years ago when they chased down a black couple whose car backfired – cops thought they had fired a gun. The couple, who were unarmed, were gunned down and killed by 13 police officers, who fired over 100 rounds into their car. Last year, six of the cops who opened fire on the couple were fired, six others were suspended 21-30 days, and the thirteenth officer retired in 2015. It took the system three years to fire police officers in that case. All of the 13 officers were white, except for one Hispanic officer.
Also, in 2014, a white police officer shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, after reports of a black male pointing a gun at people in a city park. Rice was actually holding a toy gun, but the officer who shot Rice, Timothy Loehmann thought he was reaching for a weapon. Tamir died the next day, and a few months later, no charges were brought against Loehmann. However, he resigned after it was reported that he had been deemed emotionally unstable and unfit for duty. The Rice family filed a lawsuit against the city of Cleveland and settled for $6 million.
While police chief Cardilli said that the allegations against Dixon and Spencer were “grotesque and vile,” and that police procedures were not followed during the arrest, he would not give any more details about the investigation.
[Photo by Ricky Rhodes/Getty Images]