The charges include abusing sick leave, failing to prove medical care for a woman in distress, OVI, and communicating with a suspect to “be careful” of police.
CLEVELAND — Four Cleveland police officers have been fired and a fifth received a “significant unpaid suspension” following multiple separate accusations made against them, Director of Public Safety Karrie D. Howard announced Friday.
The four terminated individuals were all patrol officers, with their tenures at the division ranging from just two years to as long as 23. All lost their jobs following disciplinary hearings.
The charges against them are as follows:
- Katrina Ruma: An investigation found the 52-year-old guilty of violating “multiple” department violations, including rules pertaining to the dress code, sick leave, and body cameras. Among other charges, she was said to have left work without permission and refused to hand over video evidence regarding a matter in the Fourth District women’s locker room, and also pleaded no contest in May of 2020 to illegally restraining dogs in her native Portage County. She had been with the police force since 1998.
- Samuel Ortiz: In a timeline of events dating back to February of 2018, the 50-year-old was alleged to have failed to provide medical care to a woman claiming to have attempted suicide, tried to cover up a use of force investigation, and later lied about his actions during that latter inquiry. He had been with the division since 2007.
- Michael Guion: The 41-year-old was found asleep at the wheel of his car last October in Fairview Park and later pleaded no contest to OVI (his second such offense). He was also accused of failing to properly investigate a domestic violence claim in March of 2020. He had been with the department since 2013.
- Chane Donitzen: Just 29 years old, she sent an Instagram message to “a person believed to be a risk to law enforcement officers,” telling the individual their photo had been posted on the second district’s bulletin board and warning them to “be careful.” She had been with the force since 2019.
In addition, Det. Salvatore Santillo was suspended 20 days without pay after he was accused of using excessive force on a suspect without a legitimate reason, and also “appeared to be untruthful and biased” when recounting the incident. Santillo, also just 29, was hired in 2014 and remains a member of he fourth district.
The city did not offer any further statement on the moves, but did provide the termination letters for the four patrol officers as well as the suspension letter for Santillo (all are linked above). 3News has reached out to Det. Jeff Follmer, President of the Cleveland Police Patolmen’s Association, for comment.