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Cleveland Policeman With History of Excessive Force Arraigned on Assault Charges

by Derek Gilna

Criminal justice experts generally agree that past behavior is the best predictor of future action, and the history of Cleveland police Sgt. Christopher Graham seems to bear that out.  Graham was charged with first-degree misdemeanor unlawful restraint and assault after being accused of throwing down  an 18-year old woman and arresting her boyfriend, on September 12, 2017  and then failing to truthfully report what really happened.                                                                                                                  

However, this was not his instance of using excessive force or misusing his police powers rather than following his sworn oath to uphold the law. In 2003, he convinced two of his fellow officers to arrest his ex-girlfriend on a false trespassing charge. She then filed suit, and collected $14,000 from the City of Cleveland.                                                                                                                                    

The next incident of aggressive behavior happened in 2005, when he quarreled with a motorist over a parking space. Graham chased him into a coffee shop, beat him on the head with a flashlight, and threw him into a store display, until he started to bleed. He then put his knee on his chest, cuffed him, and took him into custody. Other policemen responding to the call took the man to the hospital for treatment, but after he was treated and released, took him to jail.  The city settled the lawsuit stemming from that incident for $7,500 two year later.                                                                   

The September 2017 incident that resulted in his being charged stemmed from a fight between two teenagers, one of whom was allegedly waving a gun.  The two were arrested and taken into custody. When the young woman approached the police car and attempted to speak with her boyfriend, Graham claimed she made an obscene gesture and tried to knee him in the groin, and he had her arrested.                                                                                             

Both accusations were determined to be false by police department internal affairs official, and all charges against the woman were later dropped. However, it is unclear whether Graham was ever disciplined for either this incident or the two prior times, and neither police nor fraternal order of police had any comment. No one should therefore be surprised that Graham continues to misuse his authority and now finds himself as a criminal defendant.


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