Officer accuses East Cleveland Police sergeant of attempting to steal drugs seized as evidence (video)

Updated: Nov. 2, 2020 at 9:02 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - An East Cleveland Police supervisor is accused, by one of his officers, of attempting to steal drugs seized as evidence.

19 News obtained video of the incident and the internal investigation that followed.

The FBI is now investigating the supervisor. The FBI did not say whether its investigation is directly related to the incident in this story.

The video leaked to 19 Investigates shows two cops packaging the evidence they seized in a traffic stop when their then commander enters the room.

What Sgt. Larry McDonald says is what lead to the internal investigation.

The audio is low, but he says,"I’m going to take some of this weed home... [inaudible] and say ‘look, look, baby, look what daddy brought you.’"

You can see one of the officers sitting in the room softly kick McDonald in the leg a few times.

That’s when McDonald appears to realize one of the officer’s body cameras is rolling.

“We set up his body camera to watch us as we did the evidence,” the officer told an investigator during the internal affairs investigation.

The investigator asked the officer, “Would you say when he made those comments was he serious or was he joking?”

The officer said, “I thought he was joking.”

While he said he didn’t take the comments seriously at first, the other officer said the incident was the second time McDonald asked for drug evidence that day. The first he says was while he was in the process of making the arrest where police seized the drugs.

“So, he called you out there, and what did he say?” the investigator asked.

“He asked if I could put a few bags of weed away for him,” the officer said.

“So, he literally asked you to put a few bags of marijuana on the side for him?” the investigator asked--before the officer affirmed.

19 Investigates tried online, over the phone, and in person to ask the supervisor directly--was he seriously going to take drugs home?

We never got a response from him.

“I’d like to take the time to let you know that as a council member I have the full authority to hold an investigation in regards to Officer Larry McDonald. My duties as council members have been obstructed because the law department isn’t giving information to council to start out own investigation. Council and I have confirmed that Officer Larry McDonald has been reassigned from Commander down to Sergeant. Officer Larry McDonald was seen on video trying to take drugs before it entered the evidence room. Please if you’d like to use this as your official notice from city council on behalf of the City of East Cleveland, please do so. We are shocked to learn about the incidents and we’re taking every step to learn all the details, and make sure the officer is held accountable.”

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