CLEVELAND – Four of 13 Cleveland police officers involved in a high-speed chase that left two people dead have a history of excessive force allegations, including one case resulting in $900,000 in damages against the city.
Federal court records show the most recent allegation was filed just eight weeks ago involving a 26-year-old Lakewood woman.
A federal lawsuit filed in October alleges that Cleveland Det. Christopher Ereg and others dragged the woman to a patrol car and then handcuffed her so tightly it caused nerve damage to her left hand that required surgery.
Documents filed with the Ohio Secretary of State’s office also show Ereg operates a private company that specializes in executive and VIP bodyguard protection.
In another lawsuit filed in August, 2011,two additional officers are also accused of using excessive force during an arrest.
Detectives Erin O’Donnell and Michael Demchak were accused of beating a guard at the Northeast Pre-Release Center in Cleveland–along with two other officers. Court documents indicate the guard was merely protecting a hole in the prison fence line, but officers driving by mistook it for a prison breakout.
The case resulted in a $900,000 dollar judgment against the city of Cleveland.
NewsChannel5 has learned the police department internal affairs unit initially urged that the officers be charged, but department higher-ups overruled that decision and cleared the officers of any wrongdoing.
The internal affairs officer who recommended charges later quit the force.
Finally, a fourth officer identified as Det. Michael Rinkus and six others were accused of beating a drug suspect, who claimed police failed to identify themselves, during an undercover bust.
The case was later dismissed.