CLEVELAND (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-Team has found a background check flagged “explicit/racy” social media posts tied to a man named to a new commission overseeing Cleveland police.
And, we found it was no secret to people at the top at city hall. So, we investigated. We obtained a social media background report done on Gregory Reaves.
The mayor appointed him and many others to form the new Cleveland Police Commission.
But, the social media check on Reaves flagged 92 posts for explicit or racy images. Dozens of others for obscene language or sexual impropriety.
We shared that with Laura Cowan, a domestic violence survivor active in fighting against abuse of women.
“I’m appalled. Being a survivor of domestic violence,” she said. “What’s his mindset when a case does come before them, and it’s something about a woman? How would he feel? How would he judge it?”
Last October, mayor Justin Bibb revealed the people chosen by his office for the Commission, saying, “These nominees were carefully- selected.”
At that time, Reaves told us, no one would find anything offensive in his social media accounts.
He told us in October, “I do consider myself funny at times, but I would never be offensive, purposely, to anybody.”
He did not return repeated messages for this story.
Back in October, the I-Team requested the background checks on the nominees to the police commission. City hall just released these records four months later. We found some of the flagged social media posts were recent, and others went back a couple of years.
Cleveland police union attorney Henry Hilow said, “It begs the question. What due diligence was used in appointing the board?”
Hilow points out, the new commission will oversee police discipline, yet officers could be punished for the kinds of social media posts flagged in the Reaves background report.
Attorney Hilow added, “Termination. 30 days. It would be a significant penalty for this activity.”
For this story, the Mayor’s Office released a statement saying:
Social media background checks were conducted on the personal accounts of all nominees prior to their appointment to the Community Police Commission.
The platform used to conduct background checks utilizes AI to analyze posts and images and searches for keywords, likes and comments.
We expected to find results like this. We do not believe the results found in this background check, on a personal account, interfere with the commissioner’s ability to serve on the CPC today. This is a citizen-led commission that brings together a diverse group of individuals from all walks of life. We are grateful for the commissioners’ willingness to serve and for their commitment to the community and the work ahead.
Still, Laura Cowan sees a red flag. She added, “I just don’t know how that would’ve slipped through. How could that slip through?”
We also found a woman appointed to the commission had a dozen explicit images flagged in her social media background.
And we are still waiting for the city to release more records we’ve requested on all of this.
While the mayor’s office nominated the majority of the members on the new commission, the entire group also went through a review by Cleveland City Council.