RIP Gerald "Jerry" Strothers - East Cleveland REAL media coverage

Submitted by lmcshane on Tue, 07/18/2017 - 08:42.

 REALNEO has just learned via Facebook - that Gerald O. Strothers has passed on.  This is a devastating blow to the truth in reporting from East Cleveland.  And, the loss of a Northeast Ohio genius.  Citizen reporters are now the vanguard.  There is no turning back.  Gerry showed all of us the way.

From Cassandra McDonald: DISTRICT 8 NEWS...

As I am recovering from a recent loss, it was just confirmed that someone who I considered a friend, as he considered me, passed away today.

Gerald Orlando Strothers Jr. (Jerry) was a permanent and dedicated advocate in the City of East Cleveland. He was the publisher of 44112News... which he used as a platform for his concern for the residents of East Cleveland.

Jerry was a great supporter of mine. He interviewed me and recorded many of my speeches. He posted them to his news page as well as Youtube. Jerry also stood side by side with me urging people to vote for me as State Representative of District 8 at Mayfair Elementary. It was cold and raining, but Jerry didn't care about the weather when it was time to get things done.

Perhaps, he is best known for his controversial way of reporting the news. Though at times his way of reporting stories could be colorful; it remained informative.

As I am writing this, all I can think about is seeing Jerry with that recorder and/or camera on his bike, cruising the neighborhood for his next story. I'm sure the administration of East Cleveland City Hall will continue to see his image standing in the corner and calling them out for any wrongdoing. I'm even willing to bet that many EC residents will miss his advocacy. As for me, it would be him telling me, "Cassandra, you know what I think you should do is..." (LOL), as he gave me his perspective on which public office I should run for, and advise on how to do it. I have to admit, he was right on a few things.

As I close out this reflection on my experience in the life of Jerry Strothers, I do so with good memories and peace in knowing that in the end, no matter what, WE were alright.

Rest up my friend. Job well done!

 

From Eric J. Brewer:

I have to say “goodbye” to Gerald Orlando Strothers Jr. Gerald had a heart attack and was convalescing when he fell and died. He'd relocated from East Cleveland to Pittsburgh to be with his own Father before his Dad died last July. He didn't talk about it with me, but a friend shared that Gerald had a stroke before the heart attack.

Gerald was very helpful when I first began looking into the toxic dump on Noble Road that's still causing sickness and death as the Ohio EPA begins to clean it up. He had the names and telephone numbers of the Noble Road families. He put me in touch with Randy Cunningham from the Sierra Club.

Gerald had drawn a lot of attention to the Noble Road dump with his camera. He had compiled a ton of “dirt” on dump operator and demolition contractor George Michael Riley and his questionable relationship with former East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton and current Mayor Brandon King. He had the background on Riley's “girlfriend” Christine Beynon, who now owns the dump. Gerald had fearlessly confronted Riley and captured video footage of this death and sickness dealer despite allegations that he was in the “mob.”

Through him I was able to get in touch with residents who'd reached out to U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge and who possessed the letters from her office. His information provided me with the basis for my own investigation into how the dump became a presence in East Cleveland. The big difference is in how we used the information. I understood that learning what was in the “fugitive dust” inspectors found would prove Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler had lied to U.S. Marcia Fudge that there was no asbestos on the site and identify other deadly toxins. Gerald wanted to smash Riley. My focus wasn't Riley but the dump. I only needed to now enough information about Riley to push the right buttons around him.

One of the things I liked about Jerry is he didn't give a shit about Norton who he tried to recall twice. He didn't give a shit about Brandon King. He didn't give a shit about the criminal wearing a police chief's uniform in East Cleveland named Michael Cardilli who assigned cops to manufacture reasons to target Norton's critics for arrest and prosecution.

Gerald's arrest and that of East Cleveland mayoral candidate Devin Branch's were nothing more than politically-motivated “Third World” bullshit. Cops even stole Gerald's camera equipment under Ralph Spotts when he was chief.

The U.S. Department of Justice should not be done with East Cleveland police under the last two chiefs. King and the council he once led as vice president can't afford police liability insurance and shouldn't be allowed to operate a police department because they lack any sense of knowledge, integrity, responsibility and maturity to do so. Cuyahoga County Sheriff Clifford Pinkney should take over East Cleveland's policing duties. That should be done in Gerald's name for all the bullshit he went through trying to hold that city killing asshole Gary Norton and his criminally-minded thug-azzed cronies accountable.

Gerald took Norton to court repeatedly to get access to public records the law required the former mayor and the criminals he supervised to deliver. Through that exercise Jerry got a ruling from the Supreme Court of Ohio that to be paid the $1000 penalty when government agencies refuse and fail to deliver public records, the person requesting the records must send the request by certified mail.

Jerry wasn't an attorney, but he could write. So like many writers who can write anything once they understand the rules, Gerald wrote his own complaints and motions. He got in the Norton administration's azz in court so much over their refusal to obey open records laws that the mayor's contract lawyer posing as a law director and prosecutor, Willa Hemmons, once complained that Jerry was using the city's law breaking ways against them to earn a living.

East Cleveland is going to miss Jerry though most don't know it. They're going to miss the information he supplied them with on 44112News. They're going to miss his relentless digging for the truth even if his facts were sometimes skewed because of his inexperience with inside government. That didn't make his “facts” wrong. I used to tell him his “theories” were off and not to add them to his stories. His facts were on point. Gerald and I had worked at Cleveland Life when I was the newspaper's editor in chief and he was a photographer.

I'm going to say it again. Gerald is going to be missed by East Cleveland because there is absolutely no one with his editorial skills and relentlessness to take his place. This is what happens to “communities” when “citizen journalists” like Gerald or me are gone. That one person who believes his neighbors have a right to know what bullshit their elected officials are up to takes it upon themselves to dig and expose corruption regardless of the consequences.

I have performed that role through my newspapers and newsletters whether up front or anonymous for years. I do it now on Facebook. 44112News was Gerald's news sharing source. Without him paying for the monthly hosting on the 44112News website he built, all the “East Cleveland specific” information he uploaded will disappear. 44112News will only be found in snapshots on waybackmachine.com

Goodbye Gerald. Living life to do your highest and greatest good doesn't always come with the cash, but you get to leave a useful body of knowledge behind that in your case helped ease some of the suffering of God's people and kept them from being “want of knowledge.”

Good job Brother.

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