Gunfire leads to arrests in Euclid; activists want separate investigation

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EUCLID, Ohio (WJW)–  Euclid police arrested one adult and one juvenile after receiving multiple calls of gunshots on Brush Avenue Monday evening. However,  several activists allege officers used “blatant police brutality against a minor” during the arrest.

“We went to the area to  investigate the report and search for possible victims and any possible suspects,” said Capt. Mitch Houser. “ Euclid officers saw two males walking together near East 276th St. and Sidney Dr.”

Police say due to one of the individual’s behavior, officers believed he may be concealing a firearm. Officers attempted to stop the two males and speak with them but one male suddenly began to run.

Police said after a brief chase, officers caught a 19-year old male , who was armed with a 9mm semiautomatic handgun.

The 19-year-old will face multiple criminal charges including a felony charge of  carrying a concealed weapon.

Officers also located a juvenile male who had been seen walking with the suspect.

Police say the  17-year-old physically struggled with police and was eventually handcuffed.

“The juvenile was brought to the open door of a marked police cruiser, ordered to get in the back seat but he repeatedly refused to do so,” Houser said. “As an officer was standing face-to-face with the male, he spit on the officer’s face. That officer delivered a swift knee strike to the male’s front thigh in order to cause him to bend forward, which the male did.”

Houser added that police were then able to force him into the back seat of the cruiser with one more knee strike to the rear thigh.

Shortly thereafter, the juvenile’s parent spoke with police and after a brief investigation the male was released from custody. He will face misdemeanor criminal charges in Juvenile Court, according to police.

But local activists who met with police about the incident are concerned with how the arrests were handled.

“What we see is the same story, same actors, with different perspectives,” said Cassandra McDonald, President of the Euclid NAACP – National Association & Advisory Committee on Policymaking.  “ Just like the officers see what they saw, the community sees what they saw. All we want to do is make sure that the proper procedures were done as far as arrest and detainment, and also that no one’s  rights were violated.”

McDonald  said her organization will meet with police again after all the video evidence and statements are collected. 

Houser maintains the officers acted properly. He said the department’s primary responsibility is to maintain a safe city for residents and businesses.

Houser added that  later on Monday there were additional calls  about  gunfire in that same area, and one bullet went through a living room window of a  home.  No one was injured.

A press release from the Euclid police department said officers  “operate with transparency, fairness, and impartiality.”

Police say they will review the arrest.

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