CLEVELAND (WJW) — Prosecutors allege East Cleveland police officers lied about the circumstances of two separate traffic stops during which they beat two men who were not resisting, smashed a phone one man was using to record them and denied another man medical attention.
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley on Tuesday afternoon announced two more East Cleveland officers have been indicted on corruption and civil rights violations, as part of an ongoing investigation into the department that has brought charges against at least nine officers, including Police Chief Scott Gardner, who is now suspended without pay.
Tuesday’s indictment, which follows a Federal Bureau of Investigation inquiry, also brings new charges against two other officers who were previously indicted.
Read the full indictment below:
According to the Tuesday news release, officer Tyler Mundson, 30, on March 31 attempted to stop a vehicle driven by a 32-year-old man. He was assisted by officers Brian Stoll, 31; Daniel Toomer, 33; and Kyle Wood, 32. They arrested the man near the intersection of Galewood Drive and Ingalton Avenue.
Though Wood initially reported that the victim struck the front of Wood’s cruiser, body camera footage showed that wasn’t true —the man had both hands out of the window of his parked car, and he was complying with the officer’s orders. In fact, the video showed it was Wood who rammed the man’s car.
Wood and Stoll “forcefully” pulled the man from the car and assaulted him, punching and kneeing him in the head and torso, while Mundson put him in handcuffs, according to the release.
Wood told dispatchers the victim struck his car. That’s also what Mundson wrote in his report, according to the release. After placing the man in a police cruiser, the officers can be heard talking about the assault.
When Stoll returned to the station, he smashed the man’s phone multiple times, bending it and cracking the screen, according to the release.
A similar incident played out less than two weeks later.
On April 10, Toomer pursued a 25-year-old man to the intersection of East 152nd Street and Lakeshore Boulevard in Cleveland. Assisting were Wood and Stoll, in their own cruiser, and Mundson in a third.
Officers initially reported that the victim struck Wood’s car, causing him to spin out. But again, body camera footage showed it was Wood who hit the victim’s vehicle, causing the crash, according to the release. The footage also showed the victim had his hands up and was not resisting the officers’ commands. The man was pulled from the car and beaten by Wood and Stoll, prosecutors said.
The man called 911 from his phone after telling officers he needed medical help. Though an ambulance arrived, the East Cleveland officers turned them away. They also later turned away Cleveland officers who tried to examine the victims. Those Cleveland officers ultimately called in EMS, despite the East Cleveland officers’ refusal. The man was taken to a nearby hospital and treated.
Here are photos of the nine East Cleveland officers charged:
Wood was indicted on 11 counts, including single counts of theft in office, tampering with evidence, assault, felonious assault and obstructing justice and two counts each of interfering with civil rights, dereliction of duty and telecommunications fraud. He has been suspended without pay, according to Acting Police Chief Brian Gerhard.
Toomer was indicted on eight single counts including theft in office, tampering with evidence, assault, interfering with civil rights, dereliction of duty, obstructing justice, tampering with records and disrupting public service. He has been suspended without pay, according to Gerhard.
Mundson was indicted on nine counts including single counts of theft in office, assault and obstructing justice and two counts each of tampering with evidence, interfering with civil rights and dereliction of duty. He has been suspended without pay, according to Gerhard.
Stoll was indicted on 10 counts including single counts of theft in office, tampering with evidence, felonious assault and obstructing justice and two counts each of assault, interfering with civil rights and dereliction of duty. He has been suspended without pay, according to Gerhard.
Mundson and Stoll were indicted earlier this month on charges including theft in office, interfering with civil rights, tampering with evidence and dereliction of duty.
Four other East Cleveland officers previously charged are no longer with the department, according to Gerhard:
- Von Harris, indicted on charges of bribery, tampering with records and insurance fraud, has not worked for the department since March 2017.
- Demarcko Johnson, also indicted on charges of bribery, tampering with records and insurance fraud, has not worked for the department since 2021.
- Alfonzo Cole and Willie Warner-Sims, both charged with theft, have not worked for the department since July 9, 2021.
East Cleveland Mayor Brandon King released the following statement on the indictments:
“The no. 1 focus of the King Administration is safety for residents and visitors. Building a credible police force is paramount to an effective department.
“It it my mission to clean up the police department officer by officer; and, upon the identification of compromised officers within the police department, to remove them from active duty immediately as well as assist in their prosecution.
“In pursuit of that goal, acting chief Brian Gerhard will be sworn in as chief of the East Cleveland Police Department on Friday, Oct. 7 at city hall.
“Officer Gerhard has in impeccable record within the department with roots in the city from childhood. He has been cooperating with the county prosecutor’s officer to ensure that the East Cleveland Police Department is purged of all bad officers and to restore confidence in the police department.”
The FBI now has a hotline to report potential public corruption and civil rights violations in East Cleveland. Those with information are asked to call 216-583-5343 and give their name, phone number and a brief description of the alleged criminal activity.