CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - 19 investigates confirmed a local officer’s future on the force is in jeopardy.
Officer Blake Rogers has been on paid leave for more than a year after shooting a shoplifting suspect in a busy mall parking lot.
For the first time this week, the City of Beachwood says the officer violate department policies at Beachwood Place on the day of the shooting.
19 News has obtained the letter the city of Beachwood recently sent Rodgers, informing him of a disciplinary hearing in February.
In it, officials say he “failed to properly perform” his duties by opening fire on the fleeing suspected shoplifter accused of taking a $60 hat from Dillard’s.
The city says Rogers violated several department policies, including ones related to the use of force and dishonesty because he was “not entirely honest and forthcoming” about the shooting.
Now, many are left wondering why it’s taken so long for administration to come to that conclusion.
Last fall, a grand jury decided not to indict Rogers on criminal charges.
Then councilman Mike Burkons had been pushing the city to make a decision on whether or not to keep Rogers, even before the grand jury heard the case.
“That’s completely separate from our responsibility to determine his employment status,” Burkons said in July of 2020.
A new police chief took over in October, and the city’s mayor told us then that the internal investigation into Roger’s case would wrap up within days, before the holidays. Clearly, it took way longer than that.
Now, in a federal lawsuit Rogers filed against the city, he says the Mayor and Chief drew out the process on purpose.
He alleges his rights were violated in an attempt to find a just cause to fire him.
As for the day in question, Rogers defends his actions, noting that the suspect in the case ran over his foot right before Rogers fired shots at him.
The suspect in the case was hurt that day by the shots Rodgers fired.
The injuries were not life-threatening, and he is recovering as he serves time in jail after pleading guilty to felony charges.
The Rogers’ disciplinary hearing is scheduled for February 18.
We’ll keep you posted on what happens.