Ex-De La Salle student sues police claiming different treatment because of race in hazing scandal
FOX 2 – Cleveland Harville, 19, is seeking closure after being charged as a suspect in the Warren De La Salle football hazing scandal Collegiate High School, which cost him athletic scholarships.
“I feel like what happened has definitely changed my future forever in a negative way,” he said. “And once the cases came out, it was completely ghost. No response, nothing.”
And he says it tarnished his reputation. While the charges against all players were eventually dropped, the charges against Harville were dropped first. The other students had to write letters apologizing for their behavior – but Harville did not. He says he has nothing to do with the case.
“My face was on TV, my family saw this, my friends saw this,” Harville said. “And just because the charges have been dropped doesn’t mean they’re going to start looking at me any differently.”
He is suing the city of Warren and officers who investigated the scandal, saying it had nothing to do with allegations that members of the varsity football team held young athletes in the locker room and poked them with brooms.
Harville was charged with such an incident in September 2019, but he says he wasn’t even enrolled in school at the time, let alone on the football team.
“I honestly think what happened was just a lack of effort,” he said. “With just a little due diligence you would have seen I had nothing to do with it, I wasn’t even there.”
Attorney Todd Perkins thinks it’s more than that.
“I think it’s more malicious,” he said. “I think it’s more insidious than, as Mr. Harville suggests, lack of due diligence.”
Perkins is one of the attorneys representing Harville in the lawsuit. He says only African-American students have been charged in the incident, although white students were also reportedly involved – including a white Division 1 soccer prospect.
“An individual who was an athlete-scholar who continued to play in the Big Ten, he was unaffected by these particular allegations – almost as if it was intentional to keep him out,” Perkins said. . “Knowing that the allegations have revolved, mostly in at least one incident, around him.”
According to the lawsuit, one of the accusers told police Harville held him down while others teased him, but then told the lead investigator he lied about Cleveland because he was embarrassed and afraid to tell his parents the truth.
While Warren police declined to comment citing ongoing litigation, sources told FOX 2 the investigation was thorough and there was no targeting of black students.
The city of Warren will be served with the lawsuit in the coming days and then will have three weeks to respond to it in federal court.