Ex-East Cleveland officer caught on video stomping man’s head can get job back

I-Team

Warning: Some of the video, above, may be difficult to watch.

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW)– An East Cleveland officer who was fired after he was caught on video stomping on a man’s head may soon be back on the force.

The East Cleveland police chief and law director confirmed to the FOX 8 I-Team an arbitrator ruled Nicholas Foti should get his job back and be awarded back pay. Foti was fired in March.

“Nobody should get their job back, especially after what he has done,” said Councilwoman Juanita Gowdy. “I am devastated.”

The excessive force incident happened on April 1, 2020. City officials learned about the matter in March of this year after a public records request was made for the video. East Cleveland Chief Scott Gardner said the officer’s conduct violated the department’s policies.

The law director said city officials have not yet decided if they will appeal.

Officials with the Fraternal Order of Police, who represent Foti, could not be reached to discuss the matter.

“I am concerned,” said Councilman Tim Austin. “I am surely going to follow up to make sure that a process is in place and that this doesn’t happen in the future.”

Gowdy said she is urging the city to appeal the ruling.

“No way, no how that somebody gets handcuffed, dragged out of their car and gets their head stomped on and then the person who does it gets the job back,” Gowdy said. “This is not right. I am shocked.”

The chief said the man who was stomped on by the officer was stopped for traffic violations.  An attorney for the man said his client was injured and has a permanent scar on his head.

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