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Community activist seeks justice after man accuses East Cleveland police officers of assault during December traffic stop

"They punched me in the private part, laughing. Punched me in my nose and continuously elbowing me in my face."

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio — There is more controversy involving the East Cleveland Police Department.

Longtime community activist Mariah Crenshaw stood alongside 33-year-old Dominique Campbell on Friday at East Cleveland City Hall on Friday. She is urging the city to remove charges made against Campbell involving a traffic stop on December 30, 2021. 

Those charges include resisting arrest and improper backing. 

"The malicious prosecution of African Americans coming through this court by two African American females and a predominantly African American community is appalling," exclaimed Crenshaw. "It is absolutely disgraceful!"

Crenshaw and Campbell allege that six officers involved in that incident assaulted Campbell after pulling him over. That was when the video Campbell filmed on his phone showing his police encounter went viral. 

Campbell says he was driving eastbound down Euclid Avenue, filming footage of the city on his phone, when officers pulled him over at around 2:30 a.m.

During Friday's briefing, Campbell described in detail how he says the officers assaulted him. 

"They punched me in the private part, laughing. Punched me in my nose and continuously elbowing me in my face and I lose breath," Campbell recalled. "I'm telling them, 'I cannot breathe,' then there's an officer covering my face. I'm like 'why are you doing this sir?'"

Heather McCollough, East Cleveland assistant law director, argues that Campbell placed himself in that position when he found himself on the wrong side of the law that morning. 

"The time to have an issue with the police and what they are doing is not on the side of the road," she said.

The East Cleveland Police Department has not placed any of the officers involved in the incident on leave or issued any disciplinary action. Both Campbell and the "Chasing Justice" civil rights group are pushing for the removal of those six officers from the department. 

Friday's news conference at East Cleveland City Hall came on the same day that the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office announced the indictment of two more of the city's police officers. Alfonzo Cole and Willie Sims have been accused of stealing from multiple individuals while on duty.

Seven East Cleveland police officers, including Chief Scott Gardner, have been indicted since August 29. 

The problems in East Cleveland are not limited just to the police department. This fall, voters will be asked to consider the recall of the current East Cleveland Mayor Brandon King and Ward 3 Councilman Ernest Smith.

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