CLEVELAND, OH – Reliable sources say Cleveland police chief Calvin Williams knows he has no law enforcement future with mayoral contenders like Zack Reed so he’s planning to announce, soon, that he’s leaving. Reed in 2017 wanted to elevate Williams to director of public safety had he defeated Jackson for mayor that year. Should voters send him to city hall in 2022 Reed wants him gone. Williams has too much baggage associated with his management of the Cleveland Division of Police and is now presiding over a town faced with record breaking homicides and unsolved crime statistics for its 378,000 population.
The Jackson administration’s sex crime solve rate is only 20 percent and even now Williams is obstructing the public from learning about two shootings involving CMHA and DEA law enforcement officers. The Jackson administration under Williams has thus far refused to turnover footage of the CMHA shooting at King Kennedy.
Jackson appointed Williams to “station and transfer” the city’s police manpower on February 10, 2014 pursuant to Section 737.06 of the Revised Code of Ohio. At the same time he elevated troubled ex-chief Michael McGrath to director of public safety. Martin Flask was elevated from director of public safety to Jackson’s executive assistant in charge of all public safety programs including fire and EMS.
When Jackson elevated Flask to oversee the police department as safety director he was authenticating the disciplinary practices that had caused him to be demoted as chief of police under ex-Mayor Michael Reed White. White replaced Flask with Captain Mary Bounds after learning he was giving written warnings and suspensions to police officers violating local, state and federal laws Section 737.11 of the Revised Code of Ohio required them to “obey and enforce.” The word “obey” comes first in the unsuspended state general law. Jackson told EJBNEWS in 2017 Williams had never read it.
I was employed by White as a special assistant in 2001 and was assigned the task of guiding Flask and Henry Guzman through an interview with a Plain Dealer reporter investigating their use of discipline to obstruct the enforcement of valid criminal complaints citizens had against the city’s police. White was beginning to understand the nuances of how police management personnel, prosecutors and the judges were obstructing his desire to punish unlawful behavior.
As civil service employees police discipline comes under the authority of the Civil Service Commission and not the criminally-obstructive departmental rules or collective bargaining agreements. With tenacity and a guided understanding of the bureaucracy she was trying to grasp the Plain Dealer reporter might have earned a problem-solving Pulitzer. Instead of a series of eye-opening stories she stopped. In 42-years of competing, editorially, with the Plain Dealer and the city’s other media outlets I’ve watched journalists initiate and then fail to follow-up on stories that have discoverable solutions.
All three of Jackson’s top leadership bosses were double-dipping retirees he had no legal authority to leave in the job for longer than 8 months and part-time. Jackson’s three police retirees are alleged to have received payouts estimated at between $1 million and $1.5 million from their DROP pension fund contributions. At the time of his appointment Williams had worked for the city of Cleveland since 1986. DROP is the Deferred Retirement Option Plan that lets cops retire with a lump sum instead of monthly payments.
Between 2004 and 2014 a story published in the Plain Dealer revealed how Cleveland taxpayers paid out more than $8.4 million to settle police brutality cases tied to both the administrations of ex-mayor Jane Campbell and Jackson. From November 2014 until 2019 the costs jumped to $13.2 million. $6 million to the estate of Tamir Rice, alone, in 2016.
On March 14, 2013, four months after the November 29, 2012 slaughter of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams following a 100 car unlawful pursuit of them into East Cleveland, then President Barack Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, authorized the United States Department of Justice to launch a “civil investigation” of the Jackson administration’s management of the city’s violent police. A Black president sent a Black attorney general to a predominantly Black city to tell a Black mayor and police chief they were allowing criminally racist police to terrorize their people.
The revelation that under Williams – as deputy chief of operations – federal authorities found 600 incident reports with confirmed accounts of unlawful license plate searches, stops, detentions, searches, arrests and prosecutions shines as a moment of infamy in American Negro history. It was akin to learning that an American Negro was the power behind the Ku Klux Klan and Nazi’s.
In his capacity as deputy chief of operations Williams oversaw police street activity in the districts making him directly in charge of cops engaged in the unlawful criminal prosecutions as well as the brutality federal officials revealed had been covered up. Even now police under Williams claimed William Raspberry was a law enforcement officer instead of a private citizen when he left Target’s parking lot in his personal truck on West 117th Street to pursue a carjacking suspect into East Cleveland. The pursuit resulted in the death of 13-year-old Tamia Chapmann.
Chapmann’s death caused East Cleveland council vice president Juanita Gowdy to question Cleveland council president Kevin Kelley in writing after being sworn in in January 2020 about whether or not the two city councils had authorized cross border warrantless pursuits pursuant to Section 2935.03 of the Revised Code of Ohio. Cops are not authorized to pursue across borders without agreements enacted by neighboring city councils.
Kelley failed to respond directly to Gowdy and instead dismissively turned her request to him into a request for public records. City officials could identify no agreements between East Cleveland and Cleveland city councils that authorized police on either side to pursue without warrants across each’s borders. Cops operating outside their municipal borders without legislative authority are impersonating law enforcement officers and should be arrested.
The agreements detail how pursuits are to be coordinated between law enforcement agencies as well as who’s responsible for the damages to property and life when they occur. Williams like his precedessors unlawfully entered agreements between police chiefs outside the mayor and council’s knowledge and authority.
Police chiefs have no contract signing authority pursuant to any Ohio law, but Williams was authorizing police working for Cleveland Clinic, RTA, CMHA and others to make arrests off their property and on Cleveland streets in violation of R.C. 2935.03. Gowdy has since worked with East Cleveland’s council majority to enact the Tamia Chapmann Act in February 2021. Under the new ordinance East Cleveland police have no pursuit authority outside East Cleveland and should be arresting police officers from surrounding suburbs who enter the city’s borders.
Gowdy affirmed that East Cleveland city council has authorized no agreements pursuant to R.C. 2935.03 with any other city council. The Tamia Chapmann Act provides a tool for criminal defense and civil rights attorneys to validate that law enforcement officers were authorized by law to engage in arrests and pursuits. One of the authorizing documents for a warrantless pursuit across borders are agreements enacted by city councils pursuant to R.C. 2935.03. Williams, at our first and only face-to-face encounter in the basement of city hall, told me he had no knowledge of R.C. 2935.03.
Williams has further, like his predecessors, signed LEADS/NCIC participation agreements that should have been signed by Jackson with council approval to allow police officers to access the FBI’s criminal records history databases while on the streets. The FBI’s NCIC 2000 Manual clearly instructs police officers across the nation that “an NCIC hit alone is not probable cause to arrest.”
The language exists under the heading Data and Probable Cause. The authorized uses of the database and a clear process for citizen complaints involving misuse is required by Congress. Local police departments are required to also provide citizens with the information that’s stored on them in the databases. Despite these very clear federal instructions, Cleveland police under the Jackson administration and others have used the information gained from unlawful license plate searches to establish “probable cause.”
The Government Accounting Office (GAO) has repeatedly warned Congress the information in the NCIC database is inaccurate on half the individuals whose names are found in it. Council, under Kelly’s oversight as the legislative authority’s president, has never held the type of public hearings that would generate legislation from council which dealt with the chronic problem of training and unconstitutional policing. The city’s unused civil rights ordinance was enacted in 1974.
With no political horse to ride into the next administration Williams appears to be out of options to stay on past Jackson. The 8th and 9th reports of the Cleveland Police Monitoring Team were critical of the administration’s criminally-obstructive handling of discipline as well as Williams ordering police to gas and shoot rubber bullets at American citizens protesting at the Justice Center last year.
Clevelanders are not Palestinians. The late James Skernivitz had no legal authority to snatch the late Scott Dingess off Cleveland streets to use as an informant in a drug buy that got them both killed.
Despite the mayor and council’s agreement to allow Israel’s flag to be flown over city hall, Cleveland is not Israel. Williams violated the Logan Act and Espionage Act when he communicated with the Ambassador of Israel about finding the killer of an Israeli citizen on the city’s east side. He should have referred the foreign government official to the United States Department of State.
Williams is also involved in a public divorce thanks to the diligent reporting of EJBNEWS. Not Cleveland Scene’s editorial thief, Mark Puente. We exposed the other woman in Williams’ life and their two children in Berea. She’s a cop he “stations and transfers” under Ohio law named Sherrie Flores.
Williams’ wife, Loretta, like the rest of Cleveland seems to have had enough.