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Crime and Courts


UPDATE 3:04 P.M.: UNION WILL APPEAL ALL 12 DISCIPLINES. Cleveland fires one police supervisor, demotes two and suspends others
Discipline follows review of what they did -- and failed to do -- during a high-speed chase Nov. 29.
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE


Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
 
Safety Director Martin Flask says sergeant's disengating from the situation was egregious.
Courtesy of WKSU files
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In The Region:

Cleveland has fired a sergeant, demoted a captain and a lieutenant, and suspended nine other sergeants for one to 30 days because of what their actions last November during a high speed chase that ended with two people dead.

Public Safety Director Martin Flask announced the discipline this morning. The city says supervisors are held to a higher standard to protect their officers and the community, and that the behavior of Sgt. Michael Donegan was “so egregious” that he deserved to be fired.

LISTEN: FLASK on why firing was merited

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LISTEN: Betley says discipline was disproportinal

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“The officer that’s being terminated failed in his primary mission to ensure that he provided accountability and engagement with the officers under his direct command. He disengaged himself from the pursuit, disengaged himself from the supervision of the officers under his direct supervision knowing full well that they were engaged  in a high speed pursuit throughout the neighborhoods of the city of Cleveland.”

The supervisors are all represented by the Fraternal Order of Police, and the president of the local, Lt. Brian Betley, says Donegan has a strong history with the department. He says all 12 disciplinary actions were out of line and will be appealed to an arbitrator.

LISTEN: Betley says discipline was disproportinal
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(0:17)

“It became such a large instance with the media and the public outcry and so forth. I think that overtook and played a part in some of these decisions and and some of these penalties. There are some charges here that other officers have received in the past and it didn’t include termination or such heavy handed suspension days.”

The city will next review the actions of the more than 100 patrol officers also involved in the chase and expects to hold disciplinary hearings in mid- July.

The chase ended with police officers firing more than 137 bullets and killing Timothy Russell  and Malinda Williams, who were unarmed.  

That part of the incident will not be reviewed until after the Cuyahoga County prosecutor’s office has finished its review.

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