CLEVELAND -- Eight Cleveland firefighters are being punished for violations of civil service rules, Division of Fire orders, neglect of duty and behavior detrimental to the Fire Department's reputation.
They took a portrait of then-Chief Darryl McGinnis from its place in an academy gallery, went to a West Side bar, and urinated on it.
They were caught after someone sent a cell phone picture that ultimately went to McGinnis.
It was McGinnis' last day and academy graduation day.
The firefighters include supervisors and trainers at the academy.
Capt. Roy Ziganti was second in command. He took the picture as it sat in a urinal.
Ziganti pleaded not guilty. He was found guilty and demoted to firefighter and exiled from teaching at the academy.
Capt. Louis Hahn got an unpaid 30-day suspension and is banned from being involved with the new academy class.
Capt. John Whalen pleaded no contest. He got an unpaid 15-day suspension and won't be involved with the new academy class.
Lt. William Lipke pleaded guilty and got an unpaid six-month suspension. He agreed not to be considered for a captain's promotion and won't be involved with the new class.
Four other firefighters pleaded no contest and will be suspended three to nine days.
Another firefighter is on sick leave and will face a hearing when he returns to duty.
Safety Director Martin Flask called this abuse authority and unprofessional behavior saying. "The actions brought dishonor to the ranks of fire officers and, most importantly, failed to provide our newest firefighters the leadership they deserve and all of us expect."
The firefighters union called the punishments excessive. Former Chief McGinnis got a verbal reprimand for threatening to stab a firefighter.
Thirteen other firefighters face trial for alleged crimes involving payroll and shift-change abuse. A pretrial is set for Monday.