‘A punch in the face:’ East Cleveland police speak out after officers charged with stealing

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EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) — The East Cleveland Police Department is speaking up after officers were charged with stealing cash from a driver a during traffic stop on July 9.

The officers, Alfonzo Cole and Willie Warner- Simms, are facing felony theft charges after East Cleveland Police Chief Scott Gardner says he received a complaint from someone that the officers took money during a traffic stop. The chief called the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office and asked them to investigate.

East Cleveland police charged with stealing cash during traffic stop

After offering a sincere apology in a Facebook post, the department asks for anyone who has been wronged by these two officers to file a formal complaint with their department.

Any formal complaints will be sent to the Internal Affairs Division and used as evidence in an employment status hearing. They’ll also be forwarded to the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office as evidence for the criminal investigation against these officers, the department says.

The post goes on to say the department is angry, embarrassed and disappointed about the actions of the two officers.

“While I did not personally book them into our facility, I cannot imagine the awkwardness and embarrassment felt by the booking officers caused by the flagrant disregard of societal standards displayed by these two officers,” the post says. “Not only was this insulting to East Cleveland as a city and as a police department, it was a punch in the face to a profession which has remained honorable since the founding of our country.”

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