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Body camera footage shows Cleveland Police sergeant shoot man after hearing gunshots

Law enforcement experts call officer shooting legal and justified
Cleveland police
Posted at 4:10 PM, Jan 27, 2023

CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Division of Police released body camera footage of a police sergeant shooting a man after witnessing gunfire while on duty sitting in his cruiser.

The shooting happened in the middle of the night last Saturday outside a nightclub on Madison Avenue near West 98th Street.

Two former police officers, who are also professors, say the shooting by the sergeant was legal and justified.

In one video, you first hear some commotion on the street and then gunfire.

"Hey hey. Help me," you hear as the sergeant is sitting in his zone car.

"What are you guys doing? Hey, hey,” the sergeant said.

The police sergeant then jumped out with his gun drawn.

“Put the gun down, put the gun down. Put the gun down, now," the sergeant said.

Bowling Green State University Criminologist Philip Stinson reviewed the body camera video and says the sergeant’s use of deadly force was justified.

"Here, literally the officer heard noises, he heard people yelling, he heard gunfire and jumped out of his car to find himself in the middle of a gunfight," Stinson said.

Stinson, a former police officer and lawyer, says this is a good example of split-second decisions by officers.

"There was no context given to him; it wasn't as if he was dispatched to a call—had seconds or minutes to even think about how he was going to prepare for the call—he was confronted with a situation where he appeared to be in his cruiser writing a report,” Stinson said.

On the video, you see other men on the street appearing agitated.

"The guy shot first in the parking lot, and he shot back,” one man said.

"I'm going to help him, please stand back,” the sergeant said.

"That's a very dangerous situation for a police officer. I think he showed restraint he tried to get people to calm down,” Stinson said.

Another video shows police helping a second person.

"There's another guy down, right here,” someone says on video.

A 28-year-old victim and 34-year-old suspect went to MetroHealth Medical Center with injuries.

Police say a fight started inside a nightclub and continued outside ending with a suspect chasing and shooting the victim.

"This is so brazen it makes you scratch your head,” Kalfani Ture said.

Ture is also a former police officer and is an assistant professor at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Maryland.

He calls the officer’s actions legal and was baffled by what the officer witnessed.

"Typically, individuals would wait until the officer has left the scene, but they decided to have an O.K. Corral shootout right before the officer. I mean that's incredible,” Ture said.

Ture says this not only highlights the availability of guns but the lack of trust and faith in police as problem solvers.

"This is why we really need to get policing right. We really need to reform policing so that it is perceived as a legitimate mediator of these types of community tensions,” Ture said.

Both men are still alive, according to Cleveland police.

The sergeant is on administrative leave. The Fraternal Order of Police called the officer a hero and says the brazen attack moments before illustrates the dangers of the job.

"As the bodycam video shows, you can see how quickly bad situations develop. This officer is a hero, plain and simple. This brazen attack involving a male shooting at another person right in front of a marked police car proves the dangers faced by Cleveland Officers on a daily basis. I am grateful, and every citizen should be grateful that the Cleveland Division of Police has officers like this sergeant who put on the uniform daily to protect this city," said FOP Cleveland Lodge 8 President James P. O'Malley.

RELATED: Cleveland officer shoots man who shot another man outside nightclub early Saturday

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