CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) – The FOX 8 I-Team has learned a Cleveland police sergeant is facing discipline. Internal investigators say he repeatedly had contact with a Tremont bar owner convicted for bribing police.
17 internal charges have been filed against Sgt. Vincent Montague.
The charges say he was “untruthful and/or dishonest” when questioned about his communication with Andrew Long after Long “pled guilty and after he was indicted for bribing a police officer.”
The charges also say Montague “failed to avoid the appearance of impropriety” when he communicated with the bar owner while knowing the owner had been charged with attempting to bribe an officer.
In January, a Cuyahoga County judge sentenced Andrew Long to a year in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Long owns the Duck Island Club, a tiny bar on the city’s near west side. Cuyahoga County prosecutors built a bribery case against him saying he was looking for protection so that his bar would not get cited for operating after-hours.
A Cleveland police officer recorded an undercover video.
You hear the officer say, “You’ve been cited a couple times in the past, and you don’t want to get cited.” Long answers, “Right.”
The officer then asks, “Do you want an officer here, or do you just want information? What do you want?” Long then says, “My goal is to not get busted by Vice or the State anymore. Whatever I need to do.”
At one point he adds, “I just want to be off the (expletive) list. I just don’t want to get in trouble for after-hours anymore.”
Later, the officer asks, “So, 300 bucks a night?”
Then Long says, “Every other week. Every other week.”
Long pleaded guilty to bribery. He faced Cuyahoga County Judge David Matia for sentencing.
Judge Matia said, “What you did here is you bribed a police officer. You didn’t attempt to bribe a police officer.”
He added, “Pure greed in action.”
The conversation captured undercover actually happened in 2019.
The internal charges against Sgt. Montague say he had contact with the bar owner through phone calls and messages 10 times between May of 2019 and October of 2020.
The Cleveland police chief’s office says Montague’s job status has not changed as a result of the filing of the potential discipline.
He is also President of the Black Shield Police Association, a social organization that supports minority police officers.
We left messages for Montague. He has not responded.
We contacted the President of the FOP, the union that represents Cleveland police supervisors. Brian Betley said he’s beginning to look into the internal charges, and the FOP will be representing Vince at his disciplinary hearing.
That hearing is set for September 2.