CLEVELAND - A woman is speaking out about a confrontation with Cleveland Police caught on camera that first led to charges against her, but now has led to charges against an officer.
The FOX 8 I TEAM has obtained police video from an incident in September on the west side. As officers were investigating a disturbance, they noticed a woman going over to a man detained in the back of a patrol car. They told her to “get away,” and then they moved in to arrest her. The video shows the woman struggling with officers before she is taken to the ground and hauled away.
Initially, police charged her for assaulting an officer. But an internal police investigation has led to her case being dropped. Meantime, charges of assault and unlawful restraint have been filed against Sgt. Christopher Graham.
The woman told the I TEAM, "When he slammed me and put his knee in my back, I couldn't breathe. That was the worst.." She added, "They then strangled me to the ground. I'm 90 pounds” 'But she also admitted, the trouble started when officers asked her to move away from that patrol car with a prisoner inside. She said, "And then he asked me again in a more rude tone, so I put my middle finger up and I said --- you. And he didn't like that disrespect.”
Defense attorney Marcus Sidoti represents the sergeant. He points out, police first went to that scene for a call that involved a report of a gun. Sidoti said, "Young lady who clearly didn't listen to the officers. She's kicking her legs. They're on high alert. They're trying to figure out what's going on very civilly. And I think that that was compromised when somebody's near the door of the first person that's detained.”
Sgt. Graham is pleading not guilty. His case is just beginning to move through court. He has been placed on restricted duty as the case plays out.