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Thursday, September 22, 2016

City of Cleveland Reaches $375,000 Settlement With Family of Man Who Died in Police Custody After Telling Officers "I Can't Breathe"

Posted By on Thu, Sep 22, 2016 at 8:51 AM

Update: "I can't breathe."

"So, who gives a fuck?"

The disturbing details in the death of Rodney Brown, who died after being taken into Cleveland police custody back in 2010, include that snippet of conversation between a Cleveland police officer and Brown, who'd been tased at least twice after a traffic stop and died a little over an hour later. Officers contended he'd resisted arrest.

Brown's family filed a federal lawsuit and six years of motions and legal wrangling followed. Eventually, a federal appeals court ruled the case would go to trial, saying the officer, Erick Melendez, could be found liable for Brown's death. That trial was supposed to happen but the city announced yesterday it had reached a preliminary settlement with the family: Cleveland will pay out $375,000. The settlement still needs to be approved by probate court. The Brown family's attorney told yesterday the decision to settle came because the case had lingered for so long. 


(Original story 1/14/15): After years of motions and scattered exhibit filings, U.S. District Judge Lesley Wells has allowed much of Rodney Brown's family's lawsuit against the city of Cleveland to go forward — namely, the parts about police officers' use of excessive force and other officers' willful indifference toward the same.

The 2010 death of Rodney Brown sparked little outrage compared to the 2014 death of Eric Garner in New York City.  The Plain Dealer ran a great front page in December, revealing a moment that foreshadowed much of 2014's debate over police use of excessive force. Amid a violent altercation and after Brown had been arrested, he told an officer that he could not breathe. The officer replied: "So? Who gives a fuck?" Brown died shortly thereafter. Garner's story was similar — particularly the "I can't breathe" quote — though the national climate is much more electrified these days.

With Wells' order to move forward on the wrongful death lawsuit, Rodney Brown's murder is returned to the local discourse. 

The two parties' divergent stories are outlined on pages 2-8 in the judge's order

In short: On Dec. 31, 2010, Brown was pulled over for a traffic stop. Police assert that his headlights were off; Brown's family claims otherwise. Suspecting alcohol consumption, officers ordered Brown out of the car. As they patted him down, the lawsuit contends, Chapman elbowed Brown in the back of his head, prompting Brown to run across the street and face the officers. Chapman tased Brown, though he said that had little effect on the man. The officers pretty much deny all of that, writing that Brown resisted the pat-down and refused to comply with orders before being tased.

Brown ran, and the officers chased him down East 114th Street. When they caught up to him, tasings continued to no effect. A scuffle ensued, ending with Chapman sticking his gun into Brown's back before another officer subdued Brown. In all, eight officers ended up at the scene to control Brown. A crowd began gathering. Brown was arrested, and when he was stood up by Chapman he told the officer that he couldn't breathe. 

Brown died about an hour-and-a-half after first being pulled over.

Though the lawsuit was filed in July 2011, one can expect some action on this case following Wells' order. 

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Ohio Attorney General Office to Serve as Special Prosecutor in Case of Tanisha Anderson

Posted By on Wed, Feb 17, 2016 at 4:11 PM

Update: Today the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office announced that the Ohio Attorney General would be handling the Tanisha Anderson case as a special prosecutor. The county sheriff's department began its investigation last summer.


Original story 1/2/2015: Today, the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office ruled that the death of Tanisha Anderson was a homicide. She died due to "physical restraint" while being held in a prone position, according to the office. Her cause of death was also linked to ischemic heart disease and "Bipolar disorder with agitation."

Anderson, 37, was involved in a family dispute on Ansel Road on Cleveland's east side Nov. 13. Police were called, and, after discussion with the family, officers handcuffed the woman and escorted her to a cruiser to be taken to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. After resisting, she went limp, according to police officers on the scene. 

Along with the shooting death of Tamir Rice, Anderson's death has been taken up as a cause of protest against the Cleveland Police Department's ongoing pattern of excessive force (as detailed by the U.S. Department of Justice). 

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Monday, September 28, 2015

'Drunk History' Shares Cleveland Tales in This Week's Episode

Posted By on Mon, Sep 28, 2015 at 2:48 PM

The Cleveland-centric episode of Drunk History will air tomorrow night at 10:30 p.m. on Comedy Central. 

Shaker Heights native David Wain reminded us — which then further reminded us that Wain once produced a documentary of sorts on the history of Shaker Heights

Originally published Jan. 12

Tonight at 9 p.m., the producers of Comedy Central's Drunk History will post up at Happy Dog at Euclid Tavern to shoot for the show's third season. They'll be downstairs; the OSU/Oregon game will be on, duh, upstairs. 

The Drunk History gang will be hanging out until midnight, gathering footage and drunkenly talking Cleveland history (the only way to talk about Cleveland history?). 

You should go. And do tell of the glories of Northeast Ohio!

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Friday, August 7, 2015

Update: Police Arrest Suspect in Shaker Heights Hit-and-Run That Killed Elementary School Teacher

Posted By on Fri, Aug 7, 2015 at 8:54 AM

  • Derick Ward (Shaker Heights PD)

Update: A Cleveland man has been arrested in connection to a hit-skip that killed beloved Shaker Heights school teacher James Caffrey earlier this year.

45-year-old Derick Ward has been charged with aggravated vehicular homicide for allegedly driving the vehicle that fatally struck Caffrey from behind back in January. 

Northeast Ohio Media Group reports that Ward had been pulled over minutes before the incident and was being cited for having a suspended license when he fled the scene and hit Caffrey. The car was traveling at about 70 mph at the time of the accident.

Ward is expected to appear in court later today. —AN

The abandoned vehicle - WEWS STILL
  • The abandoned vehicle
Originally posted Jan. 27, 2015 at 12:25 p.m.

In just an utter tragedy on Jan. 24, a driver fleeing police jumped a curb in Shaker Heights and killed 51-year old James Caffrey, a fifth grade teacher who was out for a jog on South Park Boulevard. The suspect drove on, eventually abandoning his car and disappearing from what has become an ongoing police investigation.

Grief counselors have been at Woodbury Elementary, where Caffrey taught.

To date, area police departments led by Shaker Heights PD have not yet determined who was driving the vehicle and where that person may be. The car, according to police, is registered to an East Cleveland resident.

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Monday, July 6, 2015

UPDATE: Rhode Island 'Lookalike' Photo of Ashley Summers is Not Missing Cleveland Girl

Posted By on Mon, Jul 6, 2015 at 12:30 PM


The FBI announced today that the woman in the Warwick, Rhode Island, photos is not Ashley Summers.

“The FBI received several tips regarding this lookalike photo. A couple of possible individuals were identified. The FBI and local law enforcement worked collaboratively to identify these individuals. These individuals were determined to not be Ashley Summers,” FBI Special Agent Vicki Anderson said in a statement.

Originally published Jan. 6

Over the weekend, the family of Ashley Summers contacted the Cleveland FBI to report that a woman in a photo of suspected identity fraud criminals in Rhode Island bears a striking resemblance to the long-missing girl.

The Warwick Police Department released a photo of two people suspected of running an ATM and identity fraud scheme. As the Summers family reported to the FBI, the woman indeed looks like Ashley, who would be 21 years old currently.

"There is a striking resemblance," Cleveland FBI media coordinator Vicki Anderson says. She confirmed to Scene that an email was sent from the Summers family this weekend. 

Now, police in Warrick are seeking information on the two suspects — any identification that could lead to an arrest and further information for the Summers family.

Ashley Summers was reported missing July 9, 2007. She was last seen in the area of West 96th Street and Madison Avenue near her home. Her case was linked for years, if only tangentially, to the cases of Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus. Little information on the case has ever been publicly released, and the FBI has never determined whether she ran away willingly or whether she was abducted. 

"We've gotten information along the way but it always seemed to be outdated," Anderson says, referring to supposed witnesses who report to the FBI that they may have seen Ashley months prior. Still, "any lead we get, any tip we get we follow up on," she adds. 

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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

"PoopGangsta" Goes to Jail: UPDATE

Posted By on Tue, Jun 2, 2015 at 10:44 AM

Yo. PoopGangsta got 12 years yesterday.

Back in May, Poop pleaded guilty to two counts of felonious assault and one count of having weapons under disability — all answered in front of  Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Cassandra Collier-Williams. (See below.)

Separately, he pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery, two counts of forfeiture of a weapon, abduction, improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle, theft and aggravated riot.


Feb. 2 Update: You guys, PoopGangsta has been arrested, according to the News-Herald and the Euclid PD Facebook page. We now return to a bunch of stories about snow.


(Original story: January 1, 2015) — If you missed it during the holiday week slog, authorities are on the lookout for Tyrice Bowens, a 26-year-old man suspected of attempted murder in a shooting on Christmas Eve at a bar in Euclid.

Depending on your level of familiarity with Bowens, you might know him better as PoopGangsta, which is his Twitter handle. 

There was also an Instagram account by the same name, but it's since been deleted.

You can read more of the details over at The Smoking Gun.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Updated: AP Music Awards to Take Place at the Q in July

Concert Announcement

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 7:08 PM

Updated: Headliners have just been announced for the Alternative Press Music Awards that take place in July at the Q. Weezer — whose 2014 album Everything Will Be Alright In the End is nominated for the Album of the Year” — will be the headliner. Panic! At The Disco, Taking Back Sunday, Motionless In White, All Time Low, New Found Glory (featuring Hayley Williams), Echosmith, Halestorm and the Madden Brothers are all slated to perform. The Contemporary Youth Orchestra will accompany many of the bands.

In addition, Deryck Whibley and Sum 41 will reunite for the event and Simple Plan will return to the stage after a three-year hiatus. Black Veil Brides, who won the Most Dedicated Fans award last year, will also play a special set. 

(Originally Posted 1/08/2015)

Last summer, locally based Alternative Press Magazine made a huge splash with its inaugural AP Music Awards. Televised live, the event featured a red carpet and honored both up-and-coming bands and legacy acts such as Slash, Billy Corgan and Joan Jett, all of whom were in attendance. This year’s AP Music Awards, sponsored by Journeys, is set to take place on July 22. This year’s event has moved into a larger venue — it will be held at Quicken Loans Arena. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will host the official after party.

“2015 is an incredible year for music and tourism in Cleveland,” says Greg Harris, CEO and President of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame And Museum, in a press release. “It’s the 20th Anniversary of the Museum, the Inductions are here in April and the APMAs return in July. These marquee events and our museum exhibits celebrate the power of rock and honor the creators and those who take rock in exciting new directions today. Last year’s APMAs were great, this year will be even bigger and better! We are proud to welcome all fans and artists to Cleveland and our Museum for the AP Music Awards!”

All Time Low’s Alex Gaskarth and Jack Barakat will host the awards. “We couldn't be more honored and excited to be chosen to host the 2015 APMAs,” states Gaskarth in a press release. “We've got some big shoes to fill after last year’s amazing debut, but we're going to do our damnedest to make this an award show that truly pays homage to the punk / rock / alternative scenes we hail from. It's all about shaking things up and keeping the night weird and exciting. We can't wait!”

Voting begins in March for the event which acknowledges underground bands that other institutions tend to ignore. “The APMAs are the place where the alternative music scene all come together on one night not only to celebrate and honor the best in music from the previous year but also to have one giant party," says Alternative Press Magazine CEO Mike Shea in a press release. "As a community, due to constant touring and our individual careers, it's difficult to get us all together in one place to celebrate and have some fun. We had an amazing show this past year during the inaugural event and we are looking to throw an even larger party this summer at The Q.”

The stats from last year are rather impressive. The event reportedly drew a crowd of 6,500 and the award show reportedly trended No. 1 worldwide for 24-plus hours through Facebook and Twitter and had an overall 2.5 billion combined impressions.

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