Cleveland's "Romeo Cop" is getting his job back. Sleeping city workers get some time off. And a postal carrier punches out for the last time. The latest developments in three recent stories from WOIO Chief Investigator Carl Monday.
Ten months after he was fired, Cleveland Police Officer Vince Lucarelli has won his case against the city. An arbitrator ruled the city went too far in firing the veteran detective, despite what he calls a "Mountain of Misconduct demanding harsh discipline."
Monday's probe, and another conducted by Internal Affairs uncovered tens of thousands of text messages, many of them sexually explicit, sent by Lucarelli while on duty. The 4th District detective also engaged in sexual activity in a police car, and pursued female victims in cases in which he was investigating.
"He embarrassed himself, the Division of Police and those officers who serve the community well, says City Safety Director Marty Flask, reacting to the decision. "His conduct rose to a level that I thought was appropriate that he be terminated," added Flask.
The City has 90 days to appeal. Sounds like Flask and the city have made up their minds. "What does this say to other officers this guy can get his job back," asked Monday. "I think it's the wrong message to be sent," Flask replied. "And hopefully, and I'm sure most officers understand that kind of behavior is not acceptable."
Whatever happens, Lucarelli will lose about a year's pay, around $55,000.
Remember Carl Monday's recent story about U.S. mail---thousands of circulars, political advertising and certified mail---dumped behind a vacant home? Well, the suspected mail dumper, Brandon Hawkins has resigned. The son of a Cleveland Post Office Regional Manager and head of the Lakewood branch remains under investigation by the U.S. Attorney and could face criminal charges.
As for those city workers caught on camera---spending much of their days sleeping and loafing instead of emptying the city's 3,000 parking meters? All three have now been suspended for fifteen days without pay. Two of their bosses were also suspended. As a result of Monday's undercover investigation, the city has instituted new work rules that require supervisors to do what they should have been doing in the first place. Checking on their workers. The three meter collectors have also signed statements, saying they will be fired if their caught again, goofing off on the taxpayers' dime.