I-TEAM: Cleveland police respond to hundreds of complaints about ‘mass gatherings’

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-TEAM has obtained exclusive video showing what was going on behind closed doors at one Cleveland home during the COVID-19 outbreak.

And we found it’s happening a lot more often than you might think. 

The video shows how Cleveland police broke up a large party, and records reveal they’ve taken in 678 complaints labeled as a “mass gathering” during the Governor’ DeWine’s Stay at Home Order, which was put in place to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

Late last month, officers went to a home on W. 145th Street after getting a complaint about a large gathering. The video shows an officer knock on the door and question a man even though police didn’t see a crowd.

*Read more stories on the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on Ohio, here.*

“You heard about the large gatherings and stuff? You’re not supposed to be doing that,” said the officer.

Yet, a little later, police ended up back at that same house.

This time, the man police had dealt with before yelled inside, “Everybody leave. Everybody clear…out.”

He ended up being charged for violating a public health order.

The I-TEAM has been going through Cleveland police records and discovered since March, they have taken nearly 700 calls for complaints labeled as mass gatherings.

In April, the place sparking the most complaints turned out to be a beauty supply store. And so far in May, the place generating the most complaints is a food store.

We also found the busiest time for these calls occurs on Saturday between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. The number of these calls can go up or down sharply on any given day.

At the party on W. 145th, police said they found 30 to 40 people.

The charge in a case like this is a misdemeanor crime carrying penalties of fines up to $750 and jail time up to 90 days. Police have also filed charges in some of the other investigations into mass gathering complaints

*See more investigative stories from the I-TEAM, here.*

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