Watch: Cleveland Councilman closes off hoops to stop violence

I-Team

CLEVELAND (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-Team found a Cleveland City Councilman making a bold move trying to stop the violence at a city park.   

Councilman Brian Kazy calling time out in a way we’ve never seen before.

Tuesday, we saw him covering the basketball hoops at Jefferson Park near West 130th and Lorain.

Monday night, three people got shot near the basketball courts, and one person died.

Councilman Kazy says the courts attract too many gamblers and people with guns.

So, he climbed a ladder and covered the rims at the courts with metal including the device many people use to lock the steering wheels of their cars.

Kazy said, “I have a problem with people playing basketball, gambling and carrying guns.”

He added, “I’m not gonna advocate for the hoops to permanently come down, but it’s a temporary fix until we can figure out what the root of the problem is and I hope that’s sooner rather than later.”

As Kazy and a neighborhood resident were working on the hoops, they were immediately confronted.

Kazy told a man at the park, “We’ve got an issue with a group of individuals who are coming up, taking over the court.”  

The man responded, “That’s always gonna happen.”

Kazy continued, “Gambling.”

The man responded again with, “That’s always gonna happen.”

Then, the man continued, “You know who you should be interviewing? All these people that live here.”

The resident helping the councilman then said, “I do live here.”

The councilman also showed us a recent social media post for a party at the park. It advertised a “smoke session” and invited people to BYOW—bring your own weed. Kazy says trouble had been building before the deadly shooting.

A mother passing by told the I-Team something extreme does need to be done especially after the shooting.

She said, “We heard the shots. Yes, we did. We heard at least 20 shots.”

She then said about the park, “It should be closed. The hoops should be taken down.”

We noticed a couple of City of Cleveland security cameras at the park They didn’t prevent the shooting. But, we’ve learned one did capture evidence that could help police.

The councilman also asked a young man at the park, “You know why they were doing the shooting?” He said he did not know who was to blame, or why they started shooting.

This comes several weeks after we saw hoops in Lakewood temporarily closed after violence.

Councilman Kazy says he tried to get Cleveland City Hall to take action at Jefferson Park. Then, he finally took action himself.

Like what he’s doing or not, he wants to hear from you.

Kazy said, “And let me know how we solve a basketball, a gambling, and a gun problem.”

We sent questions to city hall, and as of late Tuesday, we had received no response.

The councilman says he expects the park to reopen fully in a matter of weeks.

As for the shooting investigation, police did not have any immediate leads.

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