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Cleveland families who lost loved ones to gunfire demand more homicide detectives be hired

Posted at 9:41 PM, Oct 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-21 23:09:43-04

CLEVELAND — Five Cleveland families, who have lost loved ones to gunfire and are dealing with an unsolved murder case, are demanding the City of Cleveland hire additional homicide detectives.

Family members of DeAngelo Smith, who was killed in March at East 93rd Street and Parmalee Avenue, 16-year-old Andre Bello III, fatally shot in April at West 97th Street and Loretta Avenue, and 6-year Lyric Lawson shot, who was killed after more than 20 shots were fired into her East 171st Street home are demanding answers.

Lyric's aunt Corday Lawson told News 5 there are simply not enough detectives to handled all of the unsolved murder cases in Cleveland.

“We have lost people back to back, this year alone, last year also, all unsolved, when does it stop,” Lawson said.

“We need justice, there are too many unsolved murders in Cleveland, Ohio.”

Crystal Walker, the aunt of Curtis Dubose, who was fatally shot, told News 5 the city needs to live up to its promise and double the number detectives in the homicide unit.

“Either hire more or pay them the overtime, but something has to happen," Walker said.

"Every day, every minute we’re having additional homicides in Cleveland.”

"There's just not enough follow-up, because we don’t get word back to say hey we’re still working on this, it’s almost as if you dropped the ball.”

Cleveland Councilman Michael Polensek said the city has not lived up to its promise to get 1,700 officers hired and 23 detectives in the homicide unit. There are currently 13 on the job.

"We need more people in the homicide unit, we need more people in sex crimes, car theft, I can go right down the list where we need people,” Polensek said.

"People need to come forward and provide tips in these unsolved murder cases."

“Come on I’ve seen the police reports where there’s seven or eight people standing there watching a homicide, nobody says anything?”

Still, Black on Black Crime President Al Porter told News 5 even when tips are provided there are not enough detectives to follow-up on them.

“Even if you blow the whistle, nothing happens, there’s no follow through.”

"Why is there such a disconnect that the families aren’t being listened to.”

News 5 reached out to Cleveland Police Headquarters for a comment on current staffing levels, but have not yet been given a response.