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Cleveland police recruits file lawsuit against city after being accused of cheating

Posted at 10:47 PM, Aug 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-14 07:40:29-04

Nine Cleveland police recruits, accused of cheating at the police academy last month, have now filed a lawsuit against the city for being "found guilty before being proven innocent."

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the recruits by attorneys Eric Henry and Sean Sobel after the recruits were told that they would be fired and had their notebooks confiscated for sharing notes with other cadets in class.

Sobel told News 5 some of the cadets have come forward and admitted they were cheating, but said the nine cadets who filed the lawsuit said they were told by police instructors to share notes with other cadets who were struggling in class.

The Black Shield Police Association released the following statement following the plagiarism allegations:

The Black Shield Police Association, while aware of the allegations of plagiarism against fifteen (15) civilian recruits, will reserve judgement until the completion of the Division of Police’s investigation into this matter. However, we are concerned about the allegations raised, and will continue to follow the facts to ensure due process is given to these fifteen (15) civilian recruits.

Sobel has also filed a temporary restraining order in federal court, asking a judge to allow the nine cadets to be still allowed to attend a police exam on August 16th, so they don't have to redo the 6-month police training, while this case is still pending.

That's what we're trying to avoid with our filing, is to ask the judge to order that they be permitted to sit for the exam on Thursday," Sobel said.

"Only two of the nine of our clients have been actually interviewed by the Cleveland Police Department in connection with this investigation.  So we think that is something that should certainly be completed before any action is taken."

Sobel is expecting a federal judge to rule on the restraining order within 24 hours.

Christine, who didn't want to give her last name to protect the identity of her family, told News 5 one of the accused cadets is her son.

Christine believes the city has acted unfairly and has given the accused cadets very little information. 

Christine believes her son and the eight other accused cadets will have all accusations of cheating dropped.

"It was beyond shocking, what it feels like to be somebody who's being accused of something you didn't do," Christine said.

"They were never spoken to, they never saw any information, no one presented them with anything." 

"Their notebooks were confiscated from them, and then they were just told you've cheated."

"They are completely innocent, I am 100% confident that you're going to see a good majority of these kids reinstated."