"It's absolutely false," said Cleveland councilman Brian Cummins in a phone interview this afternoon. After establishing the Courage Fund, Cummins is now focused on the recovery of his Seymour constituents. He's lately been visiting the street to offer counseling services and said that a "huge issue" has become "absolutely apparent" there — Ramsey's lies.
Put bluntly, residents are pissed off.
"The real story, the corroborated story, came out" Cummins said, "but it was buried under the avalanche of media reactions to Charles Ramsey."
That's not news. Cummins is referring to Angel Cordero's version of events, in which Ramsey assisted in the rescue (and certainly made the viral 911 call) but Cordero did the dirty work.
"I've dealt with the media a long time, but this is crazy," said Cummins.
The craziest element may be Charles Ramsey's hostility toward Cordero, his unwillingness to part with (or even share) his heroics or the celebrity therefrom.
The soft-spoken Cordero (who was scheduled for an interview with Scene and a translator on the morning of Friday, May 10, and never showed up) told reporters that he wasn't jealous of his neighbor's fame.
Ramsey, however, was incensed that Cordero told a different version at all. Check out the 4:30 mark on this impromptu interview with the artist formerly known as Snoop Dogg on GGN.
Here's the relevant quotable:
Hey, I'll tell you what you can do for me Snoop...uh, a favor...It's this mothafuckin' Dominican back in Cleveland. I'm in New York right now, right. This Dominican, in Cleveland, on the fuckin news, talkin' bout what the fuck he done did, and how he helped me do somethin. Hey...if you could just watch my back while I beat the fuck out this nigga when I get back to Cleveland. I think it'd look real good if Snoop watched me beat this so called 'Hero' up. Hey, who the fuck am I, nigga, if you don somethin' bitch?
Choice words from Cleveland's humble knight and servant.
The threats have had a chilling effect on Seymour, too. Councilman Cummins said Cordero has "gone cold" for the past week-and-a-half. "He's in hiding." Cummins said.
Ramsey, meanwhile, has received a check for $13,731.43 from a GoFundMe charity started by Robby Russell, a man in Oregon compelled to act when Ramsey's interview went viral.
Russell intentionally set the funding limit where he did to avoid taxation on gifts (which occurs at the $14,000 threshold.)
"It was way more successful than I thought it'd be," said Russell from his office in Portland. He said during the fundraising, he spoke on more than one occasion to Ramsey over the phone.
"He was a very interesting character," Russell said. "I mentioned in interviews here that he was raw and unfiltered. But I found him to be even more so over the phone than on TV. He's very vocal, very expressive."
Russell said that he wasn't sure what Ramsey intended to do with the donated money, but suspected it would be for personal uses.
"Early on, [Ramsey] very much wanted to donate to the girls and the families. But after about a week, and realizing that the girls were raising money themselves, I think he realized that...okay, this money, I'll take for me."
So that's nearly 14 grand, multiple offers for lifetime supplies of McDonald's burgers, and a Vegas Celebrity Speaking gig for a man whose definition of heroism has proven much more mutable than we maybe initially were led to believe. (I'll invite you to return to the Snoop Dogg interview if you're unsure what I mean).
Clevelanders have reported seeing Ramsey on West 6th St and the Horseshoe Casino. Days after the rescue, neighbors were already wary of Ramsey's story and sudden fame, recalling evenings of belligerent drunkenness.
But Ramsey's role as hero, as National Review's Neil Minkoff pointed out on NPR, may have been more as the "ultimate feel-good distraction." Minkoff said in a panel discussion that his gregariousness was a way for a rabid national audience to distance themselves from the real issue.
"It was a way of focusing on the case without focusing on the horror," said Minkoff.
And ultimately, we're just saying he's a hero; he's no Angel.