EUCLID, OH – A federal lawsuit claims Euclid cops were secretly recorded with hidden cameras rigged throughout the police department, with the knowledge of both the city’s mayor and retiring police chief.
The lawsuit was filed by Euclid patrolman Kurt Eyman who claims that he received a three day suspension following a disciplinary hearing after he first came forward with allegations of hidden cameras.
The cameras were allegedly hidden inside pencil sharpeners and placed in various locations, including a police locker room and a room used by the bargaining unit of Fraternal Order of Police to disucss contract and salary issues privately.
The lawsuit alleges that both Euclid Mayor William Cervenik and retiring police chief James Repicky were aware of the cameras and failed to stop the taping.
They were discovered on January 7, 2010 by an unnamed officer who told patrolman Eyman that he had observed the placement of “clandestine, surveillance cameras.”
J. Norman Stark represents officer Eyman who is suing the department for violation of Eyman’s civil rights. “When they took this to their superior officers, nothing was done,” said Stark. “When they brought this to the attention of the chief and the mayor–nothing was done.”
Both the chief and the mayor deny the allegations. “This lawsuit is not representative of the Euclid police department,” said Euclid Mayor William Cervenik.
Meanwhile, Euclid Law Director issued a statement calling the lawsuit “reckless and unfounded.” Law Director Chris Frey said the city will vigorously defend the mayor, police chief and others named in the suit.
Frey also said others issues raised in the lawsuit have been resolved in the city’s favor through a state agency charged with enforcing the collective bargaining process.
In addition, acting Police Chief Thomas Brickman, who is also named in the suit, denies any wrongdoing and says he is actively working to restore relations with the police force.
But at least one Euclid city councilman believes there are enough questions to warrant an investigation. “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” said Councilman Daryl Langman.
Attorneys representing those named in the lawsuit have 21 days to file a response in the U.S. District Court for Nothern Ohio where the case was filed.