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Cleveland NAACP requests Department of Justice investigate practices of East Cleveland PD

East Cleveland police - file image
Posted at 10:57 PM, Mar 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-31 23:16:00-04

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio — April 2020 body camera video gives a glimpse at what some say is a history of corruption in East Cleveland.

The video showed Officer Nicholas Foti stomping Redrick Ward after a police chase.

East Cleveland police confirm Foti was terminated and then re-awarded his position by an arbitrator.

East Cleveland police officer placed on leave; body camera video shows him stepping on suspect

News 5 has learned that Ward filed suit against the city of East Cleveland, four officers and Chief Scott Gardner.

Ward accuses the officers involved in the April 2020 incident of violated his civil rights and causing severe injuries.

“This is a municipality that is out of control, they are not training or regulating their police force,” said Nacht. “We cannot have officers act out of emotion instead of out of professionalism. The fact that this [misconduct] has happened again and again and the city doesn't alter its behavior is incredibly disturbing.”

Nacht’s sentiments are echoed in a letter shared exclusively with News 5 from the Cleveland branch of the NAACP.

The letter requests the US Department of Justice investigate the patterns and practices of East Cleveland and cited seven instances of misconduct from 2012 to 2020.

“This city [East Cleveland] has a pattern,” said Nacht. “Government is failing the citizens and we have no choice but to go to the federal courts to ask for help.”

The city owed over $31 million in legal judgments as of 2019 according to a state audit report.

Nacht says the astronomical amount of money that the city owes in legal judgment pushes some attorneys away from representing any clients that are looking to pursue a lawsuit against East Cleveland.

“There are many lawyers that won’t even take cases against East Cleveland because they don't pay their bills,” said Nacht. “I brought this case because I want government to pay attention so the conditions for the community change.”

News 5 reached out to East Cleveland’s mayor's office for comment and hasn’t received a response.

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