Richard Michael DeWine leaves every elected office he serves in administratively worse off than it was when he arrived.

DeWine lets cops make arrests without credentials


For 5 years Michael Cardilli impersonated an East Cleveland peace officer and carried a weapon in violation of a state training law that told him to stop.

At least twice in his career as an East Cleveland cop since so-called “chief” of police Michael Cardilli has let his Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA) credentials expire.

The first time was for 5 years between November 17, 1999 and August 10, 2005. The city’s late chief of police, and not the mayor, received an August 10, 2005 letter from Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro’s office telling her that Cardilli and another cop, Paula Robinson, had continued to impersonate law enforcement officers for 5 and 13 years past dates they should have “ceased performing the duties of a peace officer and carrying a firearm” pursuant to the enforcement section found in 109:2-18-06(A) of Ohio’s administrative code. 

“Pursuant to division (B) of section 109.803 of the Revised Code, any peace officer or trooper who, in any calendar year, fails to comply with the continuing professional training requirements set forth in paragraphs 109:2-18-01 to 109:2-18-07 of the Administrative Code shall cease carrying a firearm and shall cease performing the functions of a peace officer or trooper until such time as evidence of compliance is filed with the executive director. This rule does not apply to peace officers or troopers for whom an extension of time has been granted by the executive director.”

Petro’s letter was copied to Cuyahoga County Prosecuting Attorney William D. Mason.  Instead of sending it to the chief of police it was the mayor as “chief law enforcement officer” under Ohio law who should have received it.  That’s the official appointing authority for police officers.  Only the mayor or city manager can administer oaths of office and appoint police officers.

Cease letters like this one should be forwarded to mayors and prosecutors across Ohio when a cop’s training credentials expire. Attorney General Richard Michael DeWine’s office operates on an honor system where they operate as if cops don’t lie.

In Cardilli and Robinson’s case the chief withheld the information from the mayor and asked for an extension.  Petro’s office denied her request because extensions were granted for 90 days before credentials expired and not 5 and 13 years afterwards.  Every arrest, testimony delivered in court and paycheck received by Cardilli and Robinson compounded their felonious violation of the state’s impersonating a peace officer statute found in section 2921.51 of Ohio’s revised code.

Despite federal misprision of felony laws found in Chapter 18 and section 4 of the United States Code that make it a felony for an official to know of a felony and not report it; Mason ignored all the unlawful arrests and “theft in office” pay checks and pension benefits Cardilli and Robinson received to perform law enforcement duties they’d been told to stop performing.  Mason chose to conceal their felonious acts against possibly hundreds of people the two cop impersonators had unlawfully arrested.   The former prosecuting attorney also let Cardilli testify with expired credentials in a murder trial that involved Tonica Jenkins in 2003.

Mary Davis is Attorney General Richard Michael DeWine’s OPOTA director and the person directly responsible for allowing cop impersonators without credentials to continue making arrests and carrying firearms.

She’s the woman who forged credentials to get into Yale University; who bought coke with her mother from an undercover DEA agent in Florida; and who took Melissa Latham to a Strongsville dentist to get her teeth cleaned using her name so she could kill her to create the illusion she was dead. It all began on April 20, 2001 exactly 520 days after Ohio law required Cardilli to stop performing law enforcement duties and wearing a gun.

After Malissa escaped the death Jenkins planned for her East Cleveland cops investigated. Jenkins’ appeal of Judge Lillian Greene’s 20 year conviction includes the following reference to testimony offered by ex-East Cleveland cop Gary Harper.

“Officer Gary Harper interviewed Martin and Latham. As part of his investigation, he and his partner, Officer Michael Cardilli searched the area around the house on Delmont where they found a blood-stained brick.”

Tonica Jenkins’ 2003 murder trial provides evidence that Michael Cardilli was impersonating a peace officer and carrying a firearm in violation of a state training law.

So Cardilli on or around April 20, 2001 had not ceased to perform the duties of a peace officer and was still wearing a gun. 

The last cease letter in Cardilli’s file was from Petro in 2005 even though his OPOTA credentials were expired as recently as July 2018.  In 8 years under DeWine’s watch Chasing Justice researcher Mariah Crenshaw identified 12 out of 27 individuals performing police duties with expired credentials and in violation of 109:2-18-06(A) of the enforcement section of the administrative code. 

Neither the mayor nor the county prosecuting attorney received notification from current Attorney General Richard Michael DeWine because his office isn’t sending them out.  One of the cops with expired credentials, Scott Gardner, impersonated a peace officer when he assisted DeWine in his investigation of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams’ 137 bullets deaths at the hands of Cleveland cop Michael Brelo and others.

Mary Davis is DeWine’s OPOTA director and the state official charged with enforcing 109:2-18-06 of the state’s administrative code.  She’s not issued any cease letters since taking over the job and instead has operated on a self-created “honor system” that recklessly ignores the duties of the state law she’s supposed to enforce.  DeWine shared with East Cleveland activist Justyn Anderson that Davis has failed to report any controversies involving the city’s police to him. 

Anderson confirmed to EJB NEWS that he spoke with Cuyahoga County prosecuting attorney Michael O’Malley about East Cleveland’s mayor, Brandon King, allowing cops to work without valid OPOTA credentials.  O’Malley said DeWine’s office had not alerted him.

Crenshaw’s “Chasing Justice” research revealed that the last Ohio attorney general to issue the cease letters to any East Cleveland was attorney Richard Cordray who’s now campaigning against DeWine for governor.  

There is no “retroactivity” provision in OAC:2-1-12. When an Ohio peace officer’s credentials expire they are to “cease performing the duties of a peace officer and wearing a weapon.” 

Cardilli claimed he and other East Cleveland cops were compliant.  Records reveal they took sample test questions from the Attorney General’s “home” page without logging into the OHLEG account to take the “real” test. OHLEG is short for “Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway.”

Eric Jonathan Brewer

Cleveland's most influential journalist and East Cleveland's most successful mayor is an East Saint Louis, Illinois native whose father led the city's petition drive in 1969 to elect the first black mayor in 1971. Eric is an old-school investigative reporter whose 40-year body of editorial work has been demonstrably effective. No local journalist is feared or respected more.

Trained in newspaper publishing by the legendary Call & Post Publisher William Otis Walker in 1978 when it was the nation's 5th largest Black-owned publication, Eric has published and edited 13 local, regional and statewide publications across Ohio. Adding to his publishing and reporting resume is Eric's career in government. Eric served as the city's highest paid part-time Special Assistant to ex-Cleveland Mayor Michael R. White. He served as Chief of Staff to ex-East Cleveland Mayor Emmanuel Onunwor; and Chief of Communications to the late George James in his capacity as the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority's first Black executive director. Eric was appointed to serve as a member of the state's Financial Planning & Supervision Commission to guide the East Cleveland school district out of fiscal emergency and $20 million deficit. Former U.S. HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson told Eric in his D.C. office he was the only mayor in the nation simultaneously-managing a municipal block grant program. Eric wrote the city's $2.2 million Neighborhood Stabilization Program grant application. A HUD Inspector General audit of his management of the block grant program resulted in "zero" audit findings.

As a newspaper publisher, Eric has used his insider's detailed knowledge of government and his publications to lead the FBI and state prosecutors to investigations that resulted in criminal prosecutions of well-known elected officials in Ohio; and have helped realign Cleveland's political landscape with the defeat of candidates and issues he's exposed. Eric's stories led to the indictments of the late Governor George Voinovich's brother, Paul Voinovich of the V Group, and four associates. He asked the FBI to investigate the mayor he'd served as chief of staff for public corruption; and testified in three federal trials for the prosecution. He forced former Cuyahoga County Coroner Dr. Elizabeth Balraj to admit her investigations of police killings were fraudulent; and to issue notices to local police that her investigators would control police killing investigations. Eric's current work has resulted in Cuyahoga County Judge John Russo accepting the criminal complaint he guided an activist to file against 24 civil rights-violating police officers in the city he once led for operating without valid peace officer credentials. USA Today reporters picked up on Eric's police credentials reporting from his social media page and made it national.

Eric is the author of of his first book, "Fight Police License Plate Spying," which examines the FBI and local police misuse of the National Crime Information Center criminal records history database. An accomplished trumpet player and singer whose friendship with Duke Fakir of the Four Tops resulted in his singing the show's closing song, "Can't Help Myself": Curtis Sliwa of New York's Guardian Angels counts Eric among his founding chapter leaders from the early 1980's role as an Ohio organizer of over 300 volunteer crime fighters in Cleveland, Columbus and Youngstown, Ohio. For his work as a young man Eric was recognized by Cleveland's Urban League as it's 1983 Young Man of the Year.

Known in Cleveland for his encyclopedic knowledge of government and history, and intimately-connected with the region's players, every local major media outlet in Cleveland has picked up on one of Eric's stories since 1979. There is no mainstream newspaper, television or radio outlet in Cleveland that does not include an interview with Eric Jonathan Brewer in its archives over the past 40 years.