I TEAM: Exclusive video – why police took basketball hoop, outraging family

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CLEVELAND - The FOX 8 I TEAM has obtained exclusive video revealing the untold story of what happened last month as Cleveland Police hauled away a portable street basketball hoop, ticketed a mother, and left kids stunned.

It happened off State Road, and it led the I TEAM to dig into what sparked it all, especially at a time when police struggle to keep up with shootings and robberies and drug dealers.

The video shows two officers showing up in a van with one saying, “Whose basketball hoop is this? We gotta take it."

Christina Dennis, the mother at the home, came out to meet officers and one said, "Unfortunately, we don't have a choice. We were sent here by the higher-ups." Dennis asked, "We can't get a warning?"

The portable hoops are illegal on city streets. The concern: kids might block traffic or get hit by cars.

So police loaded the hoop into a van, issued a ticket to Dennis, and a supervisor gave an explanation.

He said, "Well, technically, officers don't have to give you a warning. This came from the Council President himself."

The I TEAM went to City Council President Kevin Kelley. He told us that he never ordered police to take the hoop. He said, his office got two complaints about kids in the street, so an assistant sent one e-mail telling police. Kelley said he didn’t even know officers had taken the hoop until later. He added, “Any police officer that thinks that I have the authority over them, I think they need to go back and get some more training. A councilperson has no authority over police decisions."

On the video, police made it seem as if they take hoops off the streets all the time. But the I TEAM found police almost never write tickets for this. We checked Cleveland Municipal Court. We found just two tickets last year, and two so far this year, including one for this case.

We also reached out, Tuesday, for follow-up to police. The Chief’s office says the Commander over that district was off on Tuesday.

Earlier, we showed you even some officers got angry about the department seizing that basketball hoop. As a result, officers and local businesspeople got together and bought Christina Dennis a new hoop. It now sits in her driveway with a police sticker on it.

Dennis is not sure what to believe about the reasons behind what happened, but she’s grateful for the new hoop. She said, "I mean, that was awesome. I mean, they didn't have to do that. They did not want to take that hoop, as you can see."

We also found Dennis did not show up for a court hearing on her ticket. She told us, she didn’t think she had to go since police brought the new hoop. She thought everything had been taken care of by the officers. She promises she’ll go to court to address the ticket hoping a judge will consider the entire story behind it.

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