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

East Cleveland Police Body Camera
Posted at 5:13 PM, Mar 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-10 19:27:50-05

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio — An East Cleveland police officer has been placed on paid administrative leave after body camera video from a year ago resurfaced, showing the officer stepping on a suspect.

East Cleveland Police Chief Scott Gardner confirmed to News 5 that officer Nicholas Foti is on paid administrative leave, per his police union collective bargaining agreement, while he waits for a disciplinary hearing.

Gardner responded to the video saying:

My takeaway is that was completely against our policy and that head strikes would be reserved for serious physical harm situations. This clearly was not as the male was lying prone on the ground.

Police records show the incident stemmed from officers learning of a car driving on the sidewalk along Euclid Avenue back in the early morning hours on April 1, 2020.

In the body camera video provided by East Cleveland police, Foti can be seen placing stop sticks on the ground in the roadway and is heard saying, “Be advised, vehicle is refusing to stop.”

Later on, police are able to apprehend the suspect and pull him out of the car. Body camera video then shows Foti tazing the suspect and then stepping on his face twice.

Shortly thereafter, Foti can be heard reflecting on the chase saying, “He almost ran us over too there.”

Court records show that the suspect pleaded no contest and was convicted on a charge of speeding and having an expired license plate, which are misdemeanors that carry a fine. Attorney David Nacht says his client has a permanent scar and was "assaulted by officers." They have asked for the Department of Justice to investigate what happened.

Transparency Tracker

East Cleveland Police: 5 - Complied with all information requests in a reasonable time frame

Transparency Tracker 5

East Cleveland Police quickly provided information and data related to the case. Chief Gardner was also quick to respond with a comment on the investigation.

Learn more about News 5's "Transparency Tracker" initiative here.