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Shaker Heights officer fired for making obscene gesture to Black Lives Matter protesters

Shaker Heights police file image.
Posted at 7:11 PM, Oct 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-15 19:11:58-04

SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio — A Shaker Heights police officer was fired after making an obscene gesture at a group of protesters during the presidential debate last month.

According to the Shaker Heights Police Department, the officer was driving a security vehicle as part of presidential debate detail when the gesture was made to a group of Black Lives Matter protesters.

The officer was placed on administrative leave pending the results of an internal investigation.

Officials held a pre-disciplinary hearing on Wednesday, where it was decided that the officer would be terminated.

The city released the following statement:

"The City of Shaker Heights and the Shaker Heights Police Department (SHPD) moved promptly and decisively because we consider this incident a very serious matter. The behavior of this officer violates all that the SHPD stands for including our unwavering commitment to preserving the rights of Black Lives Matter and all demonstrators to peacefully protest. I know I speak for City Council, Police Chief DeMuth and the many dedicated Shaker Heights police officers when I say that we condemn, in the strongest way possible, any action by a police officer that interferes with or disrespects the rights of citizens to demonstrate peacefully.

The men and women of the SHPD are dedicated to upholding the highest standards of professional conduct and to the fair and equal protection of all individuals; it is embedded into the oath which they swore to honor upon becoming a police officer and to which they are deeply committed. When that oath is violated, we stand united in taking swift and appropriate action. We know our residents expect and deserve this, as do the many police officers who serve with the utmost professionalism on a daily basis.

We recognize that this incident has damaged the relationship between the police and the community. We have worked hard to build this relationship and earn your trust, and we will continue to do so. I hope that our actions in this case demonstrate our resolute commitment to treating and protecting all residents of Shaker Heights with dignity and respect, and in a just, fair, equal and professional manner. We know you expect that of our officers, and they expect that of themselves and of each other."

The name of the officer is unknown.

RELATED: Shaker Heights officer on leave for allegedly making obscene gesture to Black Lives Matter protesters