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East Cleveland Police forceful arrest captured on video; police say no excessive force used

Witness video shows police hitting man
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Posted at 6:23 AM, Jun 09, 2022

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio — Video taken by a witness on East 152nd Street in East Cleveland Wednesday afternoon is making the rounds on social media.

The video begins with what appears to be East Cleveland police officers chasing a man on a dirt bike. After the man falls, he is seen trying to get back up and on his bike, but then you can see a police cruiser knock the bike and the man back down.

The officer gets out of his car and, along with two other officers, appears to hit the man multiple times for around 7 seconds.

Wednesday evening, East Cleveland Police posted the video on Facebook and released the body camera footage and defended the officers and their actions.

Clickhere to watch it.

News 5 spoke with East Cleveland Police Chief Scott Gardner after viewers sent the video to the newsroom. He said he has seen the video circulating social media but said he also combed through body camera footage, which he said paints a different scenario.

“When you’re charged to make an arrest, it doesn’t look great, but these are the techniques we are trained in, and I did not observe any techniques that police have not been trained in,” he said. “It doesn’t appear that any type of use of force was abused in this case, initially, that I’m seeing.”

Gardner said police attempted to pull the man over several times for reckless driving and began pursuing him when he didn’t comply. He said the cruiser that you can see hitting the man’s bike is a police technique used to stop a subject from fleeing.

“He was on grass. The officers felt it was best, in the moment, to use that technique because, obviously, if it’s going to push the bike down — it’s going to be push it down on the grass,” he said. “It is used to essentially maneuver the motorcycle so it became disabled, and that’s essentially what happened.”

He said the witness video doesn’t show the man trying to run from police after the cruiser strikes him and he said that’s why police began striking the man, another police technique.

“Your hands are balled and you’re essentially making a strike, but you’re doing it to strategic locations. You’re doing it to major muscle groups in attempt to gain control to a party’s arms or legs,” said Gardner.

In the department’s bodycam footage, you cannot see the officers striking the man, and it goes to black, but Gardner said that’s because the camera was covered because he was on top of the man and said there was absolutely no editing or redacting.

He also said that the man was not hurt and officers asked him the moment he was arrested if he was okay.

“Officers clearly asked him, ‘Hey are you ok? Do you need medical attention?’, and he indicated he did not,” said Gardner.

News 5 took the videos to third-party security and policing expert Tim Dimoff. He said it appears that police used proper training when arresting the man in the video.

“That is not uncommon in order to gain control of a subject, and if you notice, when they did finally get control, they stopped. They did not continue to strike. They did not strike his neck or head area. And immediately when they got the cuffs on him, they stopped,” he said.

The man faces multiple charges, including fleeing and eluding, reckless operation, and the report indicates the dirt bike was reported stolen.

The entire incident, like any other use of force incident, will be under an internal affairs investigation.