CLEVELAND (WJW) – A FOX 8 I-Team investigation has found people cashing in big time while overseeing reform in the Cleveland Police Department.
Some are collecting a quarter-million dollars, with others a half-million and more.
Members of a federal monitoring team earn $250 an hour and they get paid with your tax money.
So, we took a close look at how much they’ve been paid to keep watch on Cleveland police.
In short, we uncovered a staggering cost to you to fix problems in the Cleveland Police Department.
City records show Hassan Aden has collected $905,030, almost a million dollars.
Local law professor and interim head of the group, Ayesha Hardaway, according to the city records, has collected $492,353.
We could go on with individuals, but we also looked at the grand total with all of the members of the team.
Since 2015, the monitoring team has been paid a total of $6.5 million.
Cleveland police have been under watch for training, policies and use of force.
We shared those earnings with Cleveland Councilman Brian Kazy.
“Outrageous,” he reacted. “I have personally witnessed these monitors sitting in public meetings doing absolutely nothing. No feedback, not saying a word.”
“That’s outrageous,” Councilman Michael Polensek said.
He suggested tax dollars could be better spent, adding, “I could put together a very long wish list for $6 million, I can assure you, and my constituents could as well.”
We also went to Brenda Bickerstaff, an activist with a brother killed in an encounter with police.
“My brother has been dead 21 years, and you know that,” she said.
She told us she’s not bothered by the cost. She just wants to see results.
“There’s been a problem. We have to address the problem. Address the issue so we can move forward,” Bickerstaff added.
All of these expenses get reviewed and approved by a federal judge, so we wanted to talk to the judge about all this money. His office said he does not give interviews on cases before him.
Hassan Aden didn’t return a call.
Ayesha Hardaway said the court agreement does not allow her to comment.
Bickerstaff believes police could be doing more to adapt to and institute changes suggested by the monitors.
Nonetheless, the cost will go up as long as police are under watch and there’s no end in sight.
The federal oversight, first, was expected only for a maximum of five years. Now, it’s moved well past that.
The overall cost was not expected to be more than $5 million, but the total has moved well past that figure.