Shaker Heights police officer fired for directing obscene gesture at Black Lives Matter protesters ahead of presidential debate

Shaker Heights police officer fired for directing obscene gesture at Black Lives Matter protesters ahead of presidential debate
Shaker Heights Police (Source: WOIO)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The Shaker Heights police officer seen making an obscene gesture to Black Lives Matter ahead of the September presidential debate in Cleveland has now been fired.

The decision was announced by Shaker Heights Mayor David Weiss.

“The behavior of this officer violates all that the SHPD stands for including our unwavering commitment to preserving the rights of Black Lives Matter and all demonstrators to peacefully protest.”

The officer was initially placed on administrative leave while an internal investigation was conducted after it was reported that he held up his middle finger at Black Lives Matter protesters as he worked security for the presidential debate outside of the Cleveland Clinic’s restricted zone.

A disciplinary hearing was held on Oct. 14, according to Mayor Weiss. It was then decided that the police officer’s employment should be terminated.

“I know I speak for City Council, Police Chief DeMuth and the many dedicated Shaker Heights police officers when I say that we condemn, in the strongest way possible, any action by a police officer that interferes with or disrespects the rights of citizens to demonstrate peacefully,” the mayor wrote in a statement to the community.

Mayor Weiss said the city and police department are continuing to better the relationship and trust between law enforcement and the community, but acknowledged that this incident was damaging to that work.

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