I-TEAM: Victim speaks out in Cleveland officer assault case

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — A Cleveland Police officer faced a judge Thursday on felony assault charges and, as he did, the woman he’s accused of attacking spoke out to the FOX 8 I-TEAM.

Officer John Hawk is accused of breaking the woman’s nose while off-duty.

Kali Ricci stood in the hallway outside the courtroom with her face still showing evidence of her injuries. She said she and the officer had a casual friendship, and then the other night he flew into a rage and would not allow her to leave his apartment.

She told the I-TEAM she’s determined to get justice and she’s speaking out because she wants all women to have the courage to come forward when they feel they’ve been victimized.

Ricci said, “As scary as it is, all I have to say is, you really just have to speak the truth.” She added, “It’s hard enough, scary enough to do it. But, I’m here now, and I never thought I would do it.”

Hawk demanded a preliminary hearing on the evidence. That could happen in days or the case could be heard by a grand jury before then. The grand jury could recommend new charges, sending the case to county court.

Ricci also said, “It got really physical, and I wanted to leave, and he wouldn’t let me leave.” She added, “I’m not scared, and I’m gonna keep pushing because it’s not fair. He should not be a police officer anymore.”

Cleveland Police say the officer has been suspended without pay while his case moves through the court.

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