A News 5 investigation reveals that a former sheriff's deputy, who was stopped by police for going 103 mph and used an unauthorized badge to get out of a speeding ticket, is now an East Cleveland police officer.
East Cleveland's police chief, Michael Cardilli, confirms Demere Houston was hired as an officer last week. He is a former Cuyahoga County Sheriff deputy who also works as a dean at Cleveland's Warner Girls Leadership Academy, according to the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.
In October, News 5 first reported that Houston impersonated a sheriff's deputy during a traffic stop on I-77 with a Newburgh Heights officer. The incident was caught on body and dash cameras.
"Why do you think I pulled you over?" the officer asked. "Where do you work? Sheriff's department?"
The Newburgh Heights police chief said it was at that moment Houston flashed a sheriff's badge to the officer.
"You're out here doing 103 miles an hour in the rain, pretty stupid, ain't it?" asked the officer. "I'm not laughing. It's not funny at all, 103 miles an hour out here in the rain."
Then the video shows the officer letting him go. He was never charged.
"I'm going to give your sheriff department guy a call and let him know," said the officer to Houston. "Have a nice day."
A spokesman for the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department said deputies are only issued one badge. That spokesman also said Houston turned in his badge when he left the department. But law enforcement sources tell News 5 it is easy to get extra badges online or at police equipment stores.
Cardilli declined an on-camera interview regarding Houston but off-camera he said he and his colleagues were unaware of Houston's run-in with Newburgh Heights police. He also said there was nothing in his background check that referenced the incident. Although, a quick Google search brings up News 5's investigation on him.
Officials at the East Cleveland police department said they conduct a thorough vetting process for their officers, which include Google and social media searches as well as employment, reference and neighbor checks.
They also said Houston passed a lie detector test before he was hired.
Cardilli added that News 5's latest investigation prompted him to put Houston on administrative duties while an internal investigation is conducted. He said the findings could impact the future of his employment on the force.