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Cleveland police officers turn enforcement into kindness with new basketball hoop

Posted at 11:10 PM, Apr 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-26 11:40:37-04

Second District Cleveland police officers, responding to a complaint about a neighborhood basketball hoop, quickly turned enforcement into an act of police kindness.

Officers were called to Behrwald Avenue on Cleveland's west side, after a neighborhood complaint about a basketball hoop and children playing in the street.

Police responded after the complaint was forwarded to second district headquarters by Cleveland Councilman Kevin Kelley.

Police could be seen on smartphone video, confiscating the hoop without incident. 

Christina Dennis, the owner of the basketball hoop, told News 5 she fully understands having the hoop in the street is a potential safety issue.

However, Dennis said, since it was the first offense, she was hoping police wouldn't confiscate the hoop, and instead give her and the neighborhood children a warning.

"They actually didn't even get a knock on the door, they just pulled up and started to grab my basketball hoop," said Dennis.

"I said can I please just have just warning.  Please, I promise I won't bring it out.  They said no, this is through the councilman, we want it gone."

"They said there was nothing they could do, they even called the sergeant out, he came, he was really devastated."

"The officers were really devastated that they had to do this, but they said that was their job."

"I started crying, I mean my neighbor has down syndrome, he was very upset, all the kids were upset."

Councilman Kelley told News 5 he can't tell officers how to respond to complaints, his office simply passes them on to Cleveland police.

But then, two days later, the responding officers who confiscated the hoop, delivered a brand new basketball hoop, and a wide variety of basketball equipment to the neighborhood.

Neighbor Brian Mansfield, who has Down Syndrome, could be seen in video posted on Facebook, filled with joy and hugging the officers involved.

Dennis told News 5 it was an act of police kindness she didn't expect.

"I was so grateful, they were like the best ever," said Dennis.

"I mean words can't explain how happy I was."  

"You could tell from the bottom of their hearts, the expressions on their faces.  

"The one officer actually had to walk away, because he was literally in tears."

Funds for the basketball equipment came from donations from second district officers, Cleveland businesses and the Northern Ohio Fallen Heroes Fund.

It's still not clear if Dennis will have to pay the $160 ticket she was issued at the scene.