I-Team: How did officer facing kidnapping charges stay on the job?

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CLEVELAND — The FOX 8 I-Team has uncovered the hidden story behind a local officer charged with trying to kidnap a child. Records just released to the I-Team show doubts raised about his work on the streets protecting you.

And this has us asking how he stayed on the force.

Cleveland police officer Solomon Nhiwatiwa has been indicted for trying to kidnap a 12-year-old girl from a bus stop and urinating on her.

Records just released to FOX 8 show, from the start, training officers had serious concerns about the kind of patrolman they were getting.

After his first months on the job, one supervisor wrote, “not ready to advance.” Another wrote, “still a work in progress.”  And another wrote, he put an “armed male in the rear of our zone car” and put “himself and his partner at great risk!”

These comments come from reviews done by bosses in Nhiwatiwa’s early days on the force. Rookies go out with training officers and, basically, get graded on everything they do every day responding to crimes and calls for help.

The reports also show a need for this officer to improve his knowledge of the law, report writing, and more.

Still, the police department saw enough positives to keep him on the force as a patrolman.

He has been on the force since 2014, and he has been disciplined and suspended three times.

The records show, even in the early days, training officers had concerns about Nhiwatiwa showing up late and unprepared.

We’ve reached out to the chief’s office multiple times asking if there was ever any thought of holding this officer back due to the concerns raised in the reports just released. We have had no response.

The head of the police union said nothing indicated the officer would, one day, face charges for trying to grab a child.

Nhiwatiwa sits in jail as his case moves through court. A trial has been set for December.

Get continuing coverage, here.

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