CLEVELAND - The FOX 8 I TEAM is investigating why it took Cleveland Police four-and-a-half days to release video of a woman being kidnapped from a store even as she was on the phone with 9-1-1.
Police finally released the video Tuesday, and within hours, they said a woman contacted them to say she was fine and she has children with the man involved.
But the incident happened last Thursday night, and at first, no one had any idea what was going on except that a woman was in danger. She went into a store at 36th Woodland, and she called 9-1-1 crying. As she was on the phone with a dispatcher, a man came in, picked her up, threw her into an SUV, then sped off.
The I TEAM has obtained the 9-1-1 recording, and you can hear the woman say, “No, I'm not going with you.” It made the dispatcher ask, “What’s going on?” A store clerk mentioned the whole thing was caught on camera. Police did go to the scene that night, but they didn’t release the video until late Tuesday.
Linda Johanek runs the Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Center. She said, "I really don't know why it would take four or five days to put that out to the public." She added, “I would think any kind of abduction or report that someone was physically thrown into a car, it would be a priority."
The Cleveland Police Chief’s office would not answer the I TEAM’s questions on camera. By e-mail, a spokesperson said there will now be an internal investigation into the time it took to release the video. But the statement also said: “The video was not able to be immediately obtained by detectives. Once the video was obtained and forwarded, the video was released to the media and published via social media."
However, GM Riad, the clerk at the store said, "Police came and searched around. And the next day, I believe another detective called me, and he came, and he got the video from us."
Police have now issued an arrest warrant for the man in the video. He’ll face a felony charge of abduction.
The I TEAM will track the search for the suspect and the internal investigation.
Meantime, the Domestic Violence Center has a 24-hour hotline for anyone needing advice: 216-391-HELP.