[Editor’s Note: In the video player above attorneys representing some indicted East Cleveland officers want a gag order issued against the prosecutor.]
CLEVELAND (WJW) — Two former East Cleveland police officers will be sentenced on April 6 after pleading guilty to taking bribes.
Earlier this year, Von Harris, 53, and Demarcko Johnson, 29, each pleaded guilty to a felony count of bribery. Sentencing was scheduled for Thursday, March 30 but was postponed.
Both were indicted in September on charges of selling fake police reports for cash in the summer of 2018, the FOX 8 I-Team reported.
On June 13 of that year, they took two $200 cash payments from an individual for the reports, while dressed in uniform outside the East Cleveland Police Department, according to a press release from Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley.
The two also sold more reports for two payments of $500 outside of a gas station near Shaw and Euclid avenues in the city, on two separate occasions on June 20 and July 24, prosecutors said.
The FBI assisted in the investigation, finding Harris and Johnson put the money toward personal uses. The person planned to use the reports to file an insurance claim worth more than $10,000, according to the release.
“Police officers are held to a higher standard and these officers violated the oath they swore to uphold,” O’Malley is quoted in the release. “We are sending a stern warning that public corruption of any kind will not be tolerated in this county. The citizens of this county deserve better.”
Harris and Demarcko are among 16 East Cleveland police officers charged with crimes including assault and civil rights violations.
Earlier this month, O’Malley shared body camera video showing what he described as “appalling behavior.” Ten East Cleveland police officers pleaded not guilty in those cases and had individual bonds set at $10,000.
Former East Cleveland Police Chief Scott Gardner is also among the 16 facing charges.
There are 17 total victims across 31 incidents from June 2018 to July 2022, prosecutors said.