EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio — Two former members of the East Cleveland Police Department have pleaded guilty to one count of bribery.
In a release, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael C. O’Malley announced that Von Harris, 53, and Demarkco Johnson, 29, both pleaded guilty to accepting bribes in the summer of 2018. The two will be sentenced on February 21.
Johnson and Harris were indicted in September 2022 on three counts of bribery, four counts of tampering with records, and one count of insurance fraud.
Here is the timeline of the payments that were given to Johnson and Harris, according to investigators:
June 13, 2018
While in police uniform, Johnson and Harris gave an individual a falsified police reports in exchange for two $200 cash payments outside of the East Cleveland Police Department.
June 20, 2018
Johnson and Harris gave an individual a falsified police report outside of a gas station near Shaw Avenue and Euclid Avenue in East Cleveland in exchange for two $200 cash payments.
July 24, 2018
Johnson and Harris gave an individual two falsified police reports outside of a gas station near Shaw Avenue and Euclid Avenue in East Cleveland for two $500 cash payments.
O'Malley's office says an investigation conducted with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation revealed Harris and Johnson falsified police reports and took money from the individual for their personal use. The individual planned to file an insurance claim worth over $10,000 with the falsified police reports.
“Police officers are held to a higher standard and these officers violated the oath they swore to uphold,” said O’Malley in the statement. “We are sending a stern warning that public corruption of any kind will not be tolerated in this county. The citizens of this county deserve better.”
Since late August, nine former or current East Cleveland officers, including police chief Scott Gardner, have faced criminal charges.