A transcript of court testimony in a lawsuit against the Cleveland Police Department released today supports the Times Free Press’ account of the hearing and refutes the Cleveland police chief’s characterization of the reporting as “grossly inaccurate” and “totally irresponsible.”
Assistant Police Chief Gary Hicks testified Nov. 17 in a lawsuit brought by former detective Duff Brumley, who was fired in 2010.
As part of his testimony, Hicks said he had reported allegations to Chief Wes Snyder involving, among other things, officers snorting crushed hydrocodone pills and having relationships with underage girls.
Times Free Press reporter Todd South covered the hearing and spent a week investigating the claims, including asking Snyder four times for comment on the testimony. South published the story Nov. 29 without Snyder’s comment. On Dec. 1, Snyder called a news conference where he read a statement attacking South’s report and accusing him of having a “personal agenda.”
Snyder said South’s report “that I had knowledge of drug and sexual abuse by members of this department prior to my internal affairs investigation." "This is completely false.”
However, the transcript shows the opposite.
Here is the Q&A between Assistant Chief Gary Hicks and Gerald Tidwell, Brumley’s attorney:
A: There was a period of time there that I was receiving information we had some guys doing some stuff they shouldn’t do. There was no proof. I went to Chief Snyder and told him what I was hearing and then it led to he told me to have a meeting with all the, the four officers and all their supervisors and told me to get their attention.
Q: What were they allegedly doing?
A: I can’t remember everything. One of them was — had allegedly — was in a pursuit — the Polk County Sheriff’s Department was pursuing one of our officers on a motorcycle, and then he was bragging about that, getting away with it. You had some indications that some were fooling with juveniles and you had another one that was kind of indicating that they were messing with pills, hydrocodone and stuff, snorting them.
Q: Snorting them?
Q: When you say messing with juveniles, are you talking about messing with female, female juveniles on male officers’ parts?
Q: And so Chief Snyder had you instruct these guys not to do it anymore if they were?
A He told me to get their attention, and I called them all into the training center. And we have something that we say at the Cleveland Police Department on all of our, our discipline, you know: If you continue this behavior your job is in jeopardy. I wrote that on the board and I just kind of — I never called no names or nothing. I just told them what I was hearing, that we were hearing this and it’s very disturbing. And no one said nothing and everybody left.
See complete coverage in Wednesday's Times Free Press.
Judy Walton has worked 25 years at the Chattanooga Times and the Times Free Press as an editor and reporter focusing on government coverage and investigations. At various times she has been an assistant metro editor, region reporter and editor, county government reporter, government-beat team leader, features editor and page designer. Originally from California, Walton was brought up in a military family and attended a dozen schools across the country. She earned a journalism degree ...