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Former Cleveland Police officer accused of being involved in drug suspect shooting faces drug possession charges

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CLEVELAND – A former Cleveland police officer, accused of being involved in the shooting of a drug trafficking suspect in 2015, is now facing drug possession charges.

The Cuyahoga County prosecutor’s office says Jon Periandri is facing drug possession charges. But the charges were not on the court’s public docket until Monday, after reporters began asking questions about the case. The prosecutor’s office says an administrative error caused the charges not to be put on the court docket.

Periandri’s legal problems came to light due to documents filed in a federal civil lawsuit. Joevon Dawson filed a suit against Periandri for shooting him during his arrest in June 2015.

The shooting happened in East Cleveland. Cleveland police said they tried to stop a car Dawson was riding in because he had outstanding warrants.

Chief Calvin Williams said at the time of the shooting that his officers approached the vehicle, and ordered the suspect out. The chief said the suspect produced a weapon and was shot by one of the officers.

But, that story has now changed. In response to the lawsuit, the city now contends that Dawson got out of the car, lunged at the officer, clamped down on the officer’s arm and caused the discharge.

“It did not happen that way,” said Attorney Marcus Sidoti, who represents Dawson. “The gun was left in the car. I don’t think the physical evidence is going to match up. I really think that when we get down to it the evidence will show the firearm was in the vehicle and the firearm was never brandished by Mr. Dawson.”

More questions were raised in a report filed by the State Bureau of Criminal Investigation agent. BCI was called out the night of the shooting.

Special Agent Brenda Butler, wrote in a report filed with the court, that she too was told Dawson had a gun on him when he got out of the car.

The agent’s report also states evidence was picked up and moved before crime scene agents arrived.

“We found out from some of the documents that the scene was compromised, that the casing that was discharged by the officer’s gun was moved, that the firearm was removed after Mr. Dawson was already shot,” Sidoti said. He noted that Cleveland police say an RTA officer moved the gun and the casing.

The federal court filing also include text messages from Periandri that came to light during a police internal investigation.

One of the texts was made the day former Cleveland Police Officer Michael Brelo was acquitted for shooting and killing two suspects. There were several protests and Periandri was working.

According to documents, Periandri was texting with a man officials say was his drug dealer. The alleged drug dealer agreed to meet him the next morning. Perandri responded with this text.

“Thanks. These N—- gave me a f— migraine all day,” Perandri’s text said.

Dawson’s attorney says his client plead guilty to drug trafficking charges and wants the officer to take responsibility too.

“There needs to be accountability,” Sidoti said.

Periandri left the department in August 2016.