East Cleveland officers accused of stealing cash from driver during traffic stop

I-Team

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) — East Cleveland city officials say they have received two complaints against two police officers alleging they stole money during traffic stops.

“I am very disappointed and distraught by what happened,” said East Cleveland Mayor Brandon King. “There is a zero tolerance for this kind of behavior.”

Police Chief Scott Gardner said on Friday he received a complaint from a man that was stopped for a traffic violation by Officers Alfonzo Cole and Willie Warner-Sims. The man had just withdrawn thousands of dollars in cash to help pay for a relative’s funeral when he was pulled over by the officers.

“They pulled the driver out and they actually did a pat down search of the driver where they discovered a lot of cash on the driver,” Gardner told the Fox 8 I-Team. “Unfortunately, the same amount of cash that came out of his pocket did not go back in his pocket when it was all over.”

Gardner said another man filed a complaint July 7 saying the two officers stole $350 out of his car after they did a search of his vehicle.

The chief contacted the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s office and asked for detectives to investigate the allegations.

The officers were arrested Friday and taken to the Cuyahoga County jail on a charge of felony theft. They are expected in court soon. Meanwhile, the chief says the two officers are on paid administrative leave pending an internal investigation.

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