CLEVELAND, OH – The Cleveland cop who exposed CPPA president Jeffrey Follmer’s criminal conspiracy to obstruct the investigation of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams’ 137 bullet slaughter in East Cleveland is now being charged by his “union brothers” after a surprise drug test was positive for cocaine. Patrol officer James Hummel is not facing “discipline” pursuant to the CPPA’s labor agreement with the city that expired in 2016. A criminal complaint was filed against him by internal affairs cop Roger Stoudmire for violating one of the city’s 1st degree misdemeanor ordinances.
Hummel picked up the police-driven criminal charge after he arrived for work on August 23, 2018 and was taken for a drug test. Positive test results two days later resulted in Stoudmire filing a criminal complaint against Hummel on October 9, 2018 with Clerk of Court Earl Turner. Stoudmire alleged that Hummel violated Cleveland ordinance number 627.04. “Using Weapons While Intoxicated.”
(a) No person, while under the influence of alcohol or any drug of abuse, shall carry or use any firearm or dangerous ordnance.
Mayor Frank Jackson’s collective bargaining agreement with the CPPA identifies 7 categories of reasons his administration can drug test patrol officers like Hummel. Reasonable suspicion and random tests are the top two categories. No more than 25 percent of patrol cops can be tested randomly in a year. Assignments to high risk police areas, probation, return to duty are other allowed reasons for drug testing. Cops engaged in accidents are another.
Section 7 of exhibit G of the collective bargaining agreement spells out that employees testing positive can receive discipline up to and including termination. “Time off” discipline is no more than three days.
There’s a provision in Exhibit G under Section 10 that reads how it’s not intended to supersede state and federal laws. There is no language in the agreement that allows crimes committed by police officers to be treated as administrative offenses. It is only a “hope” of the CPPA that its members be given that extra right not extended to any other citizen of the USA.
Follmer has in the past been aggressive in using the position of CPPA president to obstruct and interfere with Jackson’s management of the police department; a management rights violation. He’s taken to the media airwaves to color public perception of the cops who killed Russell and Williams, as well as Tamir Rice, to obstruct attempts to hold them accountable in the manner spelled out by laws.
Follmer, however, has been uncharacteristically silent on what appears to be a deviation from the collective bargaining agreement regarding Hummel. [NOTE: This writer is a former mayor, mayor’s chief of staff and special assistant who negotiated and enforced 12 collective bargaining agreements with the Fraternal Order of Police, International Association of Firefighters, AFSCME and other public employee unions under Ohio and federal laws.]
In Hummel’s case Follmer knows his “member” is accused of being “intoxicated” while “using” a weapon based only on a positive test result. A cocaine high lasts for about 15 to 30 minutes. Residual effects are up to 2 hours The presence of the drug remains in the body from the day of use to up to 14 days.
Follmer would know to argue that Follmer may not have been “intoxicated” when he was tested; or “using” a weapon despite his wearing it while on duty with the residual of cocaine in his urine. His silence about the “allegedly” drug abusing cop who accused him of obstructing a criminal investigation is compelling.
Hummel blew the whistle to Attorney General Richard Michael DeWine in December 2012 that Follmer, who had no police or union authority inside East Cleveland’s borders, obstructed the criminal investigation into violations of Russell and Williams’ civil rights at the other city’s crime scene.
The 114 cop “invasion” of East Cleveland occurred on November 29, 2012. Acting on orders from Follmer and D’Angelo, not Jackson or then Chief of Police Michael McGrath, Cleveland cops began making themselves available to BCI special agents and two East Cleveland detectives on December 5 instead of at the crime scene.
One of the East Cleveland detectives, Scott Gardner, is Follmer’s FOP president counterpart for that city. Gardner should have taken over the crime scene and didn’t. Records on file with the Ohio Attorney General also reveal that at the time Gardner participated in interviews his Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy credentials had expired. Ohio law prohibited him from performing the duties of a law enforcement officer with expired OPOTA credentials. Gardner had no legal authority to participate in the interviews and was impersonating a law enforcement officer.
All the interviews were videotaped. Each cop was read and then waived their Miranda rights. Some of the interviews with cops were also attended by Follmer, D’Angelo and CPPA official Steve Kinas.
The three union officials initially attended Hummel’s first interview on December 12. Hummel said he followed their “coached” line.
Hummel told two of DeWine’s BCI special agents that he texted a message to another cop that “the union” told him to “keep his mouth shut.” He repeated the claim to two Special Agents on December 19 in front of D’Angelo.
The coached story Hummel gave was that cops said the suspects were cornered with no escape. Russell’s vehicle spun around and was pointed towards Heritage’s Middle School’s exit, aiming directly at Wilfredo Diaz. Diaz drew his weapon and “the suspect” drove straight at him. The terrified driver was now, according to the cops, going to use his car as a weapon. It’s the same bullshit claim Cleveland police shooters used to justify shooting unarmed motorists in the back in residential neighborhoods.
They all testified to being in fear of their lives “when asked” the “leading question” by investigators.
The cops said Diaz fired and then all the other cops heard gunshots. All of the cops interviewed said they thought the unarmed Russell and Williams were shooting at them so they shot back. They didn’t realize Williams was a woman, they all said, until learning about it on the news. Williams, according to some of the cop statements, was pointing a weapon at cops from Russell’s window.
Michael Brelo was consistently described as the cop who walked straight towards Russell’s vehicle firing directly into it at the two dead or dying unarmed Americans. Emptying two full 15 round clips, Brelo jumped on the hood of Russell’s car allegedly yelling “Semper Fi” and shot them directly in the face; emptying yet another clip into the unarmed citizens because “they wouldn’t stop moving.”
At the interviews, when asked if they saw anyone violating departmental rules, all said no. Race, they said when asked, was not an issue.
All of the interviews show the cops checking on and praising each other after the shooting stopped. The delusions they were experiencing quickly turned to horror as the realization that Russell and Williams were unarmed, and that they were actually shooting at each other shocked them back to reality. That’s when Demchak called Follmer and was told to keep quiet. He was on his way.
Hummel didn’t like the idea of being “coached” into a conspiracy to obstruct a criminal investigation and expressed concerns to former East Cleveland lieutenant Matt Balli about his testimony and not wanting to talk to a distrustful 2nd District supervisor, Lt. William Traine, about it. Balli reached out to BCI with the information. Hummel was immediately scheduled for a second interview.
In his second interview Hummel revealed how he and his partner, David Siefer, knew Russell and Williams did not appear to be threats and were not armed.
As the driver of a vehicle that followed Russell from the beginning, Hummel told investigators he could see Russell’s hands were firmly on the steering wheel. He said the CPPA president told him to keep quiet about Russell’s car backfiring 14 times between West 45th and Detroit and Heritage Middle School.
“Wait until your interview,” Hummel said Follmer told him.
Hummel said his partner, Siefer, knew Williams wasn’t pointing a weapon outside the vehicle’s window, and that she was bouncing up and down in it as cops claimed Russell “sped” away. Hummel told investigators that Williams had placed both her empty hands on the interior top of Russell’s vehicle.
When they arrived in East Cleveland, and since he knew the two were not armed, Hummel said he got out of his vehicle to arrest them. That’s when the shooting started and Hummel said he dove for cover. He was not one of the shooters.
In his second statement Hummel said he knew his Cleveland co-workers had positioned themselves in a dangerous crossfire and that when the shooting started they were only shooting at each other.
“It was like cowboys and Indians, ” Hummel told BCI investigators.
Hummel said Follmer went as far to tell him not to immediately share information that he and his partner, Siefer, knew Russell and Williams were unarmed.
Siefer was only interviewed once with Follmer in attendance. It’s unsure if he knew at the time that his partner, Hummel, amended their “shared” and coached earlier version of the story because of the call he’d made to Balli. DeWine’s BCI investigators never re-interviewed Siefer to learn why two men in the same car had such radically different versions of the same set of facts.
Hummel said he knew it was problematic for police to accuse Russell of evading them because the car behind him was unmarked and being driven by a plain clothes vice detective. Policy, Hummel said, clearly dictated that marked vehicles had to be in the lead.
In his second interview Hummel told DeWine’s two BCI agents he thought the “backfiring” information would have immediately shed a different light on the tragic events; and that Follmer’s instructions didn’t sit well with him.
Hummel also said he didn’t “trust” his 2nd District supervisor, Lt. William Traine, because he was “unprofessional.” It’s one of the reasons he reached out to Balli for advice.
“I thought we had a confidential conversation,” he said when asked about his discussion with Balli.
DeWine’s BCI investigation revealed that Follmer’s alleged interference thwarted East Cleveland’s ability to get fresh and uncoached statements from the 13 Cleveland shooter cops while at the crime scene; and interfered with their ability to identify every other cop who’d arrived “unauthorized” within the municipal corporation. All should have been detained and questioned.
On scene East Cleveland investigators said Cleveland’s cops “clammed up” after Follmer arrived and refused to answer questions or relinquish crime scene control. Video footage taken by Cleveland’s television news crews clearly show the larger police department’s cops controlling, investigating and removing evidence from a municipal corporation where they had no law enforcement authority. Hummel accused some Cleveland cops of hiding their East Cleveland visit from the duty logs they filled out.
Cleveland cop Michael McNeeley’s interview made the eye-opening claim that the 13 shooter cops were “mustered” together by a Sgt. Patricia Coleman. Evidence shows they were intentionally kept away from East Cleveland cops who were arriving at the homicide crime scene inside their jurisdiction. Coleman told BCI investigators she separated the officers in groups of “shooters” versus “non-shooters” and treated it like a roll call.
D’Angelo sat through both Hummel and Siefer’s interviews and heard the contrasts. According to the disciplinary rules for attorneys, he had no other duty to report Follmer’s felony obstruction to the highest authority within an organization with the power to stop him.
DeWine didn’t do shit about Hummel’s claims but have his Bureau of Criminal Investigations (BCI) investigators document them.
Follmer was not referred to Cuyahoga County Prosecuting Attorney Timothy McGinty for prosecution after Hummel complied with federal “misprision of felony” laws to expose the CPPA president’s felony conspiracy to violate Russell and Williams rights.
Although 13 Cleveland cops admitted to firing their weapons at the two unarmed U.S. citizens, McGinty only prosecuted Brelo in front of Judge John O’Donnell who let him go free.
Under Chapter 18 and section 4 of the United States Code, Hummel as a police officer charged under R.C. 737.11 to obey and enforce federal criminal laws, lawfully reported Follmer’s felony to DeWine’s BCI investigators and the state’s attorney general helped the CPPA cover it up.
Whoever, having knowledge of the actual commission of a felony cognizable by a court of the United States, conceals and does not as soon as possible make known the same to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.
Hummel’s current criminal charges for a positive drug test raises “retaliation” eyebrows. It could be, however, that he’s actually addicted to and using cocaine on the job.
The prosecution for a positive drug test would be appropriate if all Cleveland cops who’ve tested positive for drugs were criminally-charged, but that’s not the case. The contract the city has with the CPPA says employees have taxpayer-paid access to treatment through an employee assistance program.
Hummel’s criminal charges should further lead to intense FBI questioning of Follmer and re-questioning of the police officers to validate whether or not the union president obstructed the homicide investigation; and if now cops are conspiring to retaliate against him.
Hummel said in his second interview that he didn’t think Brelo would fair well because he reloaded twice.
“I was just like wow. To reload twice, you know, do that just to … it’s adding,” Hummel said.