Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath said one supervisor has been fired and two have been demoted as a result of disciplinary hearings in the aftermath of the deadly Cleveland police chase.
Sergeant Michael Donegan was terminated Tuesday because he, as a sector supervisor, took himself out of the pursuit, parked his car and failed to provide any guidance or support, according to a synopsis by Director of Public Safety Marty Flask for the administrative hearings under his review.
“Your justification for parking your vehicle and eliminating yourself from supervisory oversight was not supported by the evidence presented during the administrative hearing,” the synopsis reads.
Lieutenant Paul Wilson was demoted to the rank of sergeant and Captain Ulrich Zouhar was lowered in rank to lieutenant.
Wilson was demoted a result of a failure to communicate and take any supervisory action while engaged in the pursuit. The lieutenant was “aware that the Third District’s involvement with this vehicle pursuit was terminated by a Third District Supervisor” but still directed a sergeant to respond with emergency lights and siren.
Zouhar, along with other supervisors, sat in offices in the police building despite the knowledge that officers under his direct command were reportedly under fire by armed suspects, according to the synopsis. It says they did not leave until 25 minutes after the pursuit finished and arrived at the scene an hour after its completion.
Nine other supervisors have been suspended between three and 30 days without pay. One of those, Sergeant Richard Martinez, was suspended 10 days without pay for failing to supervise personnel under his command and sitting in his car “reading a book” at the East Cleveland scene, the review says.
Sergeant Matthew Putnam, Sergeant Mark Bickerstaff, Sergeant Brian Lockwood and Sergeant Brian Chetnik were also handed down 10-day suspensions without pay.
Sergeant Patricia Coleman received the longest suspension, 30 days without pay. Sergeant Randolph Daley was suspended 15 days without pay and Sergeant Matthew Gallagher given a three-day suspension without pay.
The disciplinary process is now complete and those who were were terminated can file a grievance, according to McGrath.
In an April news conference, McGrath provided a breakdown of each supervisor facing discipline and the violations associated.
McGrath also said Tuesday 104 police patrol officers involved will be reviewed and hearings are expected to be scheduled for mid-July.
The Nov. 29 chase ended when officers fired 137 shots at a car, killing Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams.
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