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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

How Not to Rig a Police Shooting Investigation

Posted By on Wed, Jul 18, 2007 at 4:23 PM

Steve Loomis, head of Cleveland’s police union, fired off a scathing letter this week to Safety Director Marty Flask. Loomis is prone to firing things off, but this letter has some interesting Loomis-sized heft behind it. The missive concerns the police department’s investigation into the shooting of 15-year-old robber Brandon McCloud, who was killed by two detectives, John Kraynik and Phil Habeeb, after he lunged at them with a knife in the fall of 2005. More or less everyone who looked at the case was willing to give the cops a pass – yes, they emptied their bullets into a punk with a lousy steak knife; but who wouldn’t? The lone holdout was Sergeant Henry O’Bryant, who investigated the incident for the department’s Office of Professional Standards. In his report, he found that the detectives violated a slew of department policies. As it turns out, O’Bryant probably isn’t the ideal guy to be working in an office with “Professional” and “Standards” in its title. According to Loomis’ letter, the two detectives arrested O’Bryant’s son Ian in 1998 on aggravated robbery charges. Loomis says the elder O’Bryant urged the detectives, then rookies, to forego testifying against his son. They didn’t listen, and Ian was convicted of strong-arm robbery. O’Bryant, needless to say, failed to mention this Great Moment in Cleveland Police History in his report. But it’s what most people call a Stage IV Conflict of Interest, alternatively referred to as a “Holy Shit That’s a Conflict” conflict. Or in Cleveland, it’s simply known as Tuesday. Of course, it gets worse. Turns out O’Bryant is married to former police chief and current Assistant Safety Director Mary Bounds. Bounds, who helps oversee the Office of Professional Standards, isn’t particularly fond of the detectives, either, according to Loomis’s letter. Last year, she ran for city council on a platform that promised to “Stop the Police Shootings.” Loomis believes Daddy O’Bryant and Bounds “conspired against the [detectives] to further their own personal agendas.” Not the sexiest pillow talk, but it doesn’t sound impossible either. The union has asked the Safety Department to launch an investigation. No word yet on whether it will, but insiders say the department is considering hiring Bounds’ favorite aunt, Edna, to conduct the investigation. – Joe P. Tone

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