Cleveland police officer to be suspended for inappropriate behavior

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CLEVELAND–He was sworn to uphold the law, but instead, a Cleveland police officer is punished for uploading vulgar pictures of himself to women. Investigators said he even tracked down a woman he had given a ticket to last year.

“We look to officers to serve and protect us, not put us in uncomfortable situations and abusing their power to make us do things that we really don’t want to do.”

A 24-year-old woman told FOX 8 that last November she was involved in an accident on I-71 near Fulton Road. Cleveland police officer Thomas Tewell was one of the officers who arrived at the scene.

“At first, he was making sure that I was ok, and then it kind of turned into flirting,” she said.

The woman said Tewell and another officer gave her a ride back to the second district to wait for someone to pick her up.

“I was sitting in the waiting area and he came inside and gave me a citation, and I was like ‘why are you giving this to me now?’ and I didn’t realize until after the fact that it was probably just so he could get my personal information,” she explained.

In April of this year, Tewell was charged with breaking several administrative rules.

The document says for this incident, he “engaged in inappropriate behavior to a citizen to whom you were issuing a traffic citation.”

It claims for two consecutive days after the accident, he “contacted the citizen through social media, for example Facebook, unsolicited, inviting her out to have drinks.”

“Literally the next day is when he added me as a friend and started sending me inappropriate messages, like we should go out sometime. I felt like he was just abusing his powers as a police officer by making me feel like I had to go out with him if I didn’t want this on my record,” the woman said.

The woman’s case was dismissed when Tewell did not show up for court in November.

The charging documents also reveal that June 30 of last year, Tewell “posted or transmitted a sexually explicit photograph to a female.”

It says he was “advised by a female to leave her alone after she received an unsolicited sexually explicit photograph from you.”

Investigators said he contacted that woman again twice in September.

“We don’t condone his behavior. We don’t want this kind of behavior from our police officers and we’re hoping that he learned his lesson,” said Jeff Follmer, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association.

Earlier this month, Tewell was given a 25-day suspension, without pay. We were unable to reach the officer. City officials told FOX 8 Tewell is currently on military deployment and will serve his punishment when he returns.

“Honestly, I don’t think that that’s enough. I don’t think that he should be a police officer anymore,” the woman said.

Tewell was a probationary officer at the time of the offenses. Follmer said Tewell has been on the force for about two or three years.

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