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Cleveland store owners allowed to reopen with armed security after county labels it a nuisance to public safety

Posted at 11:34 AM, Mar 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-22 11:34:41-04

CLEVELAND — The American Food Market in Cleveland is getting a second chance after the city and the prosecutor’s office issued a restraining order earlier this month on the business, alleging it was a nuisance to public safety.

A judge ruled Monday that the business could reopen as long as it hired armed security to work during the hours of 2 p.m. to closing.

Earlier this month, News 5 spoke to the owners who said they were being unfairly held responsible for drug activity in the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood.

American Food Market owner Sam Husien told News 5 his store should not be held responsible for drug activity going on outside his store or in the parking lot. Husien said he's helped Cleveland police over the past few years make drug arrests outside his business by providing crucial surveillance video.

“How can we be the cause of it, if no drug activity happens in the store, for 35 years we have never gotten in trouble with the police,” Husien said. “So they don’t want any drug activity, which I don’t blame them, we don’t want no drug activity around here either, but we can’t control that. We can control what’s inside the store, we can’t control what’s outside the store.”

Prosecutor Michael O'Malley said the city and the county need to more often use Cleveland's nuisance law to address problem businesses across the city.

“This is an extreme measure that is used in very, very few cases," O'Malley said earlier this month. “We are going to aggressively pursue businesses that allow this type of activity to occur on their property.”

The next hearing is scheduled for April 18.

Previous reporting on this story: Cleveland store owners fight shutdown due to neighborhood drug activity

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