The video clips have been filed in court as part of a legal fight by Lt. Paul Baeppler against bosses and other officers. Baeppler is pushing a civil lawsuit claiming years of retaliation and bogus internal investigations.
In a deposition, Ronald Bakeman, superintendent over Internal Affairs, admitted he changed reports.
Attorney Craig Bashein asked, “Who got you to change your reports?”
Bakeman responded sharply, “Nobody!”
So Bashein followed up with, “You did it on your own?”
Bakeman answered, “I did it on my own.”
Next, Bashein, started to say, “So, your testimony to the court and jury in this case is…” And, at that point, Bakeman interrupted with, “I screwed up.”
Bakeman added, “I didn’t change the substance, the specifications, of the report.”
Meantime, emails filed show a police administrator writing he would “shred” a version of a report. He recommended a change in a sentence about a high-level supervisor being “intentionally not truthful.”
Lt. Baeppler is a decorated officer, but his lawsuit claims bosses, at one point, assigned him to work alone in a room with orders to have no contact with other officers.
Baeppler later found himself assigned to the midnight shift at the vehicle impound lot.
The video depositions also show a sergeant in Internal Affairs testifying about officers in one matter making claims against Baeppler.
Sgt. Todd Clark said, “They came in, and they lied. I’ll go to my grave with that. They lied.”
For this story, we left a message with Ronald Bakeman, sent a text too.
We also reached out to city hall. The city has a policy of not commenting on pending lawsuits. The city has been fighting this case with an outside law firm.
The lawsuit has dragged on for years.
But, the video just filed sheds new light on questions about what happened behind closed doors at the highest levels of the Cleveland Police Department. Even with the people expected to oversee integrity in the department.
No telling when the civil suit might go to trial.
Attorneys for the lieutenant recently went to court to block the city from any more discipline until this case plays out. Lawyers for the city have also filed legal actions all the way to the Ohio Supreme Court.