Criminal charges dropped against adults who chased stolen car, put teens in trunk

CLEVELAND- The FOX 8 I-Team revealed felony criminal charges have been dropped against adults arrested after taking the law into their own hands with two teens, and now we’re investigating what that means on your streets.

Felony charges have been dropped against Sheila Beale, Kenyatta Ware, and George Barnes. They had been arrested after Cleveland police say they tracked down two 14-year-old kids in a stolen car belonging to Beale. Witnesses said shots were fired, the teens ended up beaten, then they were shoved into a trunk, and then they were hauled to a police station.

Now, the adult charges have been dismissed, and charges tied to the stolen car have been filed against the teens.

Oddly, in a recent court hearing, an assistant county prosecutor said, "Sticking people in a trunk -- to allow that would throw this city into a chaotic mess, judge.” So why dismiss the charges against the adults now? And does this clear the way for more street justice?

The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office says the ruling in this case is not a blanket ruling for all of these kinds of cases. The prosecutor’s office says one factor here, the teens were taken right to a police station. Plus, the injuries were not severe. And, police are still investigating who’s to blame for the shots fired.

County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley said, “We have seen innocent citizens sustain serious injuries as a result of people taking the law into their own hands.” He added, “It is always best to let law enforcement handle these matters.”

Lesser, misdemeanor charges could still be filed by the City of Cleveland prosecutor. City Hall says the matter needs to be reviewed.

Beale had no comment for the I-Team as she left court. We also tracked down parents of the teens, and they had nothing to say.

**Continuing coverage**