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Timeline of the recent controversies involving the East Cleveland Police Department

Five current or former members of the department have been indicted in the last two weeks, including Chief Scott Gardner.

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio — There has been yet another development involving the turbulent East Cleveland Police Department. 

On Friday, Cuyahoga County prosecutors announced charges against two former East Cleveland officers. Von Harris and Demarcko Johnson face three counts of bribery, four counts of tampering with records, and a count of insurance fraud. 

The indictment claims Harris and Johnson "provided an individual with falsified police reports" for personal payments ranging from $200 to $500 three times in June and July of 2018, including once in front of the police department while in uniform.

Johnson, who is now employed by the Euclid Police Department, was put on administrative leave following the announcement of the indictment.

No one at the East Cleveland Police Department was available for reaction and the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's office doesn't comment on ongoing investigations.

Friday's indictment comes on the heels of several other notable events that have taken place recently.

Police Chief Scott Gardner suspended

On Aug. 29, East Cleveland Police Chief Scott Gardner was placed on administrative leave following his indictment on multiple charges related to theft and fraud.

According to the indictment, Gardner is accused of the following offenses dating back as early as 2014: 

  • One count of aggravated theft
  • One count of grand theft
  • One count of theft in office
  • One count of telecommunications fraud
  • One count of tampering with records
  • Two counts of passing bad checks
  • Six counts related to alleged violations of the Ohio tax code

In the aggravated theft charge, Gardner is accusing of failing to pay more than $150,000 in taxes between 2014 and 2019. He is also accused of grand theft between $7,500 and $150,000 from the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 39, (and/or) the city of East Cleveland, (and/or) the East Cleveland Police Department. 

Previously, Gardner was sentenced to five years probation and fined $30,000 for prohibition and tax violations. 

Gardner is schedule to be arraigned on Monday. 

2 other officers indicted 

On September 2, East Cleveland officers Tyler Mundson and Brian Stoll were indicted on four counts:

  • One count of theft in office 
  • One county of tampering with evidence 
  • One count of dereliction of duty
  • One count of interfering with civil rights

In the indictment, the dates of all four offenses are listed as "on or about March 31, 2022."

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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