EUCLID, Ohio–The FOX 8 I-Team sat down with the girlfriend of a Cleveland police officer charged with trying to kidnap a child.
Solomon Nhiwatiwa pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted kidnapping, endangering children, criminal child enticement, assault and more.
His girlfriend said she understands the charges make the man look like a monster, but she said, “When I first heard about this, I thought, this is impossible. They got the wrong guy.”
“I’ve been going out with him for close to two years, and this is impossible. He loves children.”
Euclid police said Nhiwatiwa went to a bus stop last week, tried to get a 12-year-old girl to go with him, and then he urinated on the child.
While Nhiwatiwa stands accused of odd behavior on the street, we saw odd behavior in court.
Judge Brendan Sheehan asked basic questions in a routine hearing for the officer’s first appearance since getting indicted by Cuyahoga County prosecutors. The judge asked, “Do you want to enter a not guilty plea at this time or do you want to continue your arraignment till tomorrow?”
The officer stood silent for 46 seconds before the judge asked, “Do you understand the question?”
Another 25 seconds passed before Nhiwatiwa said, “Not guilty, please.”
His girlfriend also showed us video showing police activity outside their home 48 hours after the arrest. Cleveland police said someone broke in, and stole computer equipment and more.
The woman we met said she relayed what happened to Nhiwatiwa in jail.
“He asked me, ‘Has it been on the news yet?’ He asked me, ‘What is the news saying?’ I said, ‘Are you sure you want to know what the news is saying?’” she said.
While charges have been filed, police are still building their case. Investigators are digging into a cell phone to see what’s inside. The victim told police she believes that phone was used to record what happened to her at the bus stop.
“And he just said that is…ridiculous, and he just got silent,” Nhiwatiwa’s girlfriend said.
She told us she started dating the officer months after he answered a call involving her. She said she reached out to him. Now, she’s standing by him with his career and his freedom on the line.
He likes his job. And he wants to help people. He would never do anything to not help a child.”
Nhiwatiwa sits in the Cuyahoga County Jail under what’s called administrative segregation, held away from other prisoners.
Cuyahoga County prosecutors wanted him held on a $1 million bond. Instead, the judge set bond at $300,000 and Nhiwatiwa will have to be monitored by an ankle bracelet if he gets out of jail before trial.
Prosecutors also said the mysterious break-in at the home shortly after the arrest is still under investigation.