A national convention and LeBron's return will lure thousands of new visitors to Cleveland. Keeping them safe is top priority. So why are some police officers still on the force, after disgracing their profession?
Chief Investigator, Carl Monday, examined recent cases involving wayward cops, who are still wearing a gun and a badge.
Remember Dean Graziolli? He's the man we've come to know as "Sgt. Stay at Home." Monday and his team caught the veteran Cleveland police officer on 14 occasions at his west side home, when he was supposed to be at work across town at the 4th District. Sometimes, up to three hours at a crack.
After watching Monday's investigation on TV, and reviewing the follow up probe by police Internal Affairs, then-Chief, now Safety Director, Michael McGrath, says he was "disheartened." When asked if this is the kind of officer he wants on the force, McGrath replied "No, absolutely not."
Graziolli was indicted by a County Grand Jury on 11 criminal counts, including theft in office and dereliction of duty. But in a plea deal with prosecutors, the officer pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor of falsification of records. He was placed on probation.
At a departmental hearing last month, Graziolli was suspended for thirty days (in addition to three months already served) and was demoted for a year. But you may wonder how he got his job back in the first place, especially after neighbors told 19 Action News, and police investigators, that Graziolli had been coming home for years, possibly over a decade.
McGrath said Graziolli did have permission at times from his supervisors at the 4th district. No supervisor was disciplined following the investigation.
The Safety Director says discipline against Graziolli was limited to the information provide by Internal Affairs. Graziolli's case, in his words, "Didn't reach that level of termination."
Internal Affairs found, on one day, Graziolli made or received 20 cell phone calls while out of his district. Another day, he was on the phone…while on duty…in North Royalton, 18 miles from 4th District Headquarters.
Are cops like Graziolli getting off easy?
Three years ago, Monday caught two Cleveland officers spending days at a private company, loading landscaping bricks into a patrol car instead of fighting crime. They, too, falsified their duty reports. But neither was fired. They were suspended and docked pay.
In a much higher profile case, the police chase that left two dead in East Cleveland. Dozens of officers and supervisors involved. Only one was fired.
McGrath says all police officers are entitled to a fair hearing. But he admits he's frustrated by arbitrators who often side with police. He might have been talking about Vincent Lucarelli.
19 Action News caught the veteran detective sexting on city time. Over 30 thousand texts, many with women involved in cases he was investigating. The city did fire Lucarelli, but an arbitrator ruled the city must hire him back. The law department is appealing.
No need for Sgt. Stay at Home to appeal his discipline. Dean Graziolli returned to the job today as a patrolman and will undergo retraining with a supervisor. He'll be restored to his Sgt. position a year from now. Assuming he doesn't get "homesick" during his shift.