East Cleveland cop, dean at Cleveland school, still employed after serious run-in with the law

Posted at 6:00 AM, Apr 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-27 07:27:18-04

An East Cleveland police officer is still on the force three months after News 5 first told the department's police chief that the man impersonated a sheriff's deputy, prior to being employed, to get out of a speeding ticket.

East Cleveland Police Chief Mike Cardilli did not respond to News 5's repeated requests for an interview.

Demere Houston was hired onto the East Cleveland police force in January, three months after News 5 reported that he had flashed an unauthorized sheriff's badge to a Newburgh Heights police officer. That officer stopped him for going 103 miles per hour on Interstate 77 North in October 2016.

"You're out here doing 103 miles an hour in the rain, pretty stupid, ain't it?" asked the officer to Houston, as seen on the officer's body cam. "I'm not laughing. It's not funny at all, 103 miles an hour out here in the rain."

The officer never cited or charged Houston, who is also a dean at Cleveland's Warner Girls Leadership Academy.

“Why do you think I pulled you over?" the officer asked Houston. "Where do you work? Sheriff’s department? I'm going to give your sheriff department guy a call and let him know."

News 5 first questioned Chief Cardilli after Houston had been hired at the police department, asking why he got the job when he had a recent, serious run-in with the law. Cardilli said he and his colleagues were unaware of the incident, even though he said his department had just completed a background check on him prior to the start of his employment. Cardilli said their background checks are thorough and include Internet searches.

But when one searches Demere Houston's name on Google, News 5's story about the incident is the top hit.

Cardilli also said that in light of the news given to him by News 5, Houston would be placed on administrative duties while his department conducts an internal investigation. He added that the outcome of the investigation may affect the future of his employment with the police department.

The Cleveland Metropolitan School District said Houston was never disciplined for the incident because he was never charged.