An internal investigation into a Beachwood police officer who has been on paid administrative leave for more than one year is expected to be completed soon.
The city of Beachwood undertook a criminal investigation conducted by outside agencies of Blake Rogers regarding a June 27, 2019, officer-involved shooting at Beachwood Place in Beachwood.
Mayor Martin S. Horwitz told the Cleveland Jewish News Oct. 26, “Chief (Kelly) Stillman is currently conducting the internal investigation and I anticipate receiving it soon.”
Stillman, who began his job Sept. 29, told the Cleveland Jewish News Oct. 26 he was uncertain when he might finish.
“I’m working hot and heavy on it, but I have not forwarded it on up to the mayor yet,” Stillman said.
He said the case is “still in the investigatory process.”
Rogers has been on paid administrative leave since the shooting and receiving an annual salary of $92,206.40, plus benefits, which he is receiving while on leave.
“I’ve got a lot of things going here all at one time and that’s a top priority, but I still have to run a police department with a number of other obligations.” Stillman said. “Within the next couple weeks, nothing longer than that, at least before the holidays.”
The Cuyahoga County Grand Jury on Oct. 8 returned a “no bill,” meaning there were no grounds to pursue felony charges against. Grand juries typically review cases of officer-involved shootings for charges following criminal investigations.
On Oct. 9, Mayor Martin S. Horwitz said there would be an internal investigation of Rogers that would take two weeks and called the internal investigation “a top priority.”
Meanwhile, Jaquan Jones, 20, of Cleveland was sentenced to 12 to 16 years in state prison at Lorain Correctional Institution in Grafton Oct. 26 in three cases before Judge Michael Russo at Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas for his part in the June 27, 2019, incident at Beachwood Place in Beachwood.
An initial police call stemmed from a report from Dillard’s at the mall of the theft of a $59 baseball hat. A manhunt for Jones took place after he ran over Rogers’ foot and Rogers shot at him through the driver’s side window in the parking lot. Jones was injured in the incident and arrested on July 25, 2019, in Cleveland in an unrelated investigation.
In the Beachwood Place incident, Jones pleaded guilty to a single count of third-degree felony attempted felonious assault, one count of third-degree felony failure to comply with a police officer’s orders, one count of fifth-degree felony obstructing official business, one count of fourth-degree felony receiving stolen property and one count of first-degree misdemeanor petty theft.
In the second case, dating to July 23, 2019, and July 25, 2019, he pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree felony involuntary manslaughter, three counts of fourth-degree felony assault, one count of third-degree felony having weapons under disability, and one count of fifth-degree felony possessing criminal tools.
In the third case, dating to July 16, 2019, he pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree felony robbery and one count of fourth-degree felony grand theft.
Rogers’ lawyer, Kevin M. Gross of Zipkin Whiting Co. LPA of Beachwood, has filed a 42-page complaint against the city of Beachwood, also naming as defendants former police chief Gary Haba, Horwitz and other officials. The lawsuit was filed partly as a result of the length of time Rogers has been on paid administrative leave while his criminal investigation was pending with state agencies.
Marcus Sidoti, partner at Friedman & Gilbert of Cleveland, represented Jones. He has previously said he has not yet determined whether he might sue on behalf of Jones regarding the shooting. Several attempts to reach Sidoti were unsuccessful.