In East Cleveland, Norton said the alleged incident began early Sunday
after police arrested a robbery suspect accused of stealing an iPhone.
'A complete shock'
Suspect Jesse Nickerson made a complaint to a supervisor after his
arrest, police Chief Michael Cardilli told CNN.
Attorney Heather McCullough, a public defender who's representing
Nickerson, said he recounted his version of events to her in court
"It was a complete shock. ... He told me they had taken him to the
park, beaten him up and thrown him over a cliff," she said. "He had
an obvious injury to his face. When he first came in to the
courtroom, he stumbled a little bit and he was doubled over."
Nickerson showed "visible signs of an altercation" and sustained
minor abrasions, the police chief said.
Mayor: Officers fired within 36 hours
East Cleveland's police chief began an internal investigation after
learning of the incident, suspending the officers without pay within
12 hours and firing them within 36 hours, the mayor said.
"Our police chief is committed to root out all of this stuff and
prosecute all of those who engage in it," Norton said. "This is why
people are afraid of the police, and we won't stand for it."
Now state authorities are investigating the two former officers for
allegedly using excessive force, said Jill Del Greco, a spokeswoman
for the Ohio attorney general's office. Investigators will turn
their findings over to the country prosecutor, who will determine
whether charges will be filed, she said.
Authorities have been tight-lipped about the investigation. But
Cardilli released the names of the fired officers: Denayne Dixon, a
full-time patrol officer who'd been working for the department since
October 2014, and Gerald Spencer, a part-time patrol officer who'd
been working for the department since May 2015.
CNN's efforts to reach Dixon and Spencer for comment have not been
Cardilli described the allegations against the officers as
"grotesque and vile," noting that the department's policies and
procedures were not followed during the arrest. But in an interview
with CNN, the police chief declined to provide further details on
what he said was an ongoing investigation.