CLEVELAND -- The FOX 8 I-Team has found a Cleveland police supervisor recently punished for “playing video games while on duty.”
Sgt. James Ealey served a two-day suspension for improper conduct. Records show the video game action happened on “multiple occasions.”
Ealey works in the Cleveland Police Fifth District on the city’s northeast side, and some of those streets are now among the most violent in the city.
The I-Team went to see Ealey and asked him about playing video games on duty. He answered, "Well, probably because it was down time. And I didn't think it was that serious, but I've been disciplined for it, so…"
Meantime, we met Ronnie Odetallah, manager of a convenience store nearby, off of East 185. He reacted, "You can't betray the public trust like that, you know?” He added, “You know, it’s really alarming especially with so much violence going on. So much to be concerned about."
Ealey told FOX 8 he had brought the video games from home.
Capt. James McPike, a supervisor there not involved in the complaints or investigation, told the I-Team Ealey had been night shift boss assigned to the office. McPike said, "Everything was quiet. There was nothing going on. And certainly, Sgt. Ealey realizes this is not appropriate use of city time."
So how did the police department arrive at a two-day suspension without pay? Records show a disciplinary hearing held by a deputy chief. The supervisor’s union says the sergeant pleaded no contest to the internal charge, took responsibility, and he offered no excuses.
Records show Ealey had no other trouble with the department. And the chief’s office says internal investigators also consider what discipline other officers have received for similar offenses.
As for a message to taxpayers, Ealey said, "I committed an offense. I was reprimanded for it. And now, I'm moving on."