CLEVELAND - The FOX 8 I TEAM has obtained exclusive video of a vile attack on a Cleveland Police officer by a man safety forces were simply trying to help.
Police body camera video shows what happened as Matthew Wenzler spit in the face of an officer. Police say he continued to spit at police, firefighters, and paramedics even after they had covered his head.
The incident happened in January, and the video has just been released to the I TEAM. Wenzler has pleaded guilty to a felony charge, and he is set to be sentenced on Thursday.
The video shows trouble started after Wenzler was found passed out on the ground across from the casino downtown. Police suspected he was drunk or high. As a medic tried to revive him, he turned combative.
Then once Wenzler was on a stretcher before going into an ambulance, you see the rescue crews around him jerk backward. Then you hear, “Now you’re going to jail.” “He spit in your face?” “Spit in my eye.”
The officer can then be seen going to the ambulance for something to clean his face.
And once Wenzler is in the ambulance, an officer can be heard saying, “You spit in my partner’s face and right into his eye.” And Wenzler laughs.
Last year, the I TEAM showed you a man taking part in a protest downtown spit in the face of a Cleveland police officer. He also got indicted. We checked back on that case and found, he plead guilty. But his sentence, three days in jail.
With Wenzler’s case still pending, the I TEAM tried tracking him down. Why would he spit at officers? No one answered at his address, and a phone number on a police report was disconnected.
His defense lawyer, David Grant, told us Wenzler is “deeply embarrassed”. And since the crime, he’s been through drug rehab.
The defense will ask for community control, also known as probation.
But Cuyahoga County Prosecutors say Wenzler faces up to 9 to 36 months locked up. And the Prosecutor’s office said, “We would like the defendant to be held accountable and face the maximum.”
Records show the Court allowed Wenzler to go into a first-offender’s program after an earlier drug case, but he failed to stay out of trouble. That is expected to be addressed by a judge during sentencing for the spitting incident.