Woman speaks out after filing civil rights lawsuit against Euclid Police Department

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EUCLID, Ohio — A former Euclid resident is suing the city, claiming a police officer humiliated her during an arrest.

A Euclid woman, was handcuffed and dragged out of her apartment half naked. Her chest was exposed to several police officers and just about anyone going down Lakeshore Blvd.

She was reportedly arrested because her music was too loud in her apartment.

Shajuan Gray said she had just got off of work back on March 27, 2017 and stepped out of the shower when Euclid Police Patrolman James Aoki knocked on her door and said there was a complaint about loud music in her apartment.

Gray says she was only wearing a towel when she went to the door but closed it and went to turn the music down. She said she then came back to talk to the officer

“At this point Aoki, Officer Aoki, had his foot on the door, so I asked him to give me a second, let me put on something decent, And, at that point he refused and kicked open my door, pushed me up against the deep freezer — my fridge — at this point my towel drops. I’m exposed. He’s got me in a very compromised position with both of my arms back, twisted up.” Gray told Fox 8 in her attorney’s office in Downtown Cleveland

By the time other officers arrived she was led outside of the apartment half naked, asking to be allowed to put on clothes.

“Look how you taking me out, look how you taking me out. Can I put some clothes on?” She could be heard saying on police body camera video, even though police can be heard on the same tape saying she didn’t ask for clothes.

“Can I speak to her and see which one is her key? Can we get her something to put on?” One neighbor asked police.

“I tried to she didn’t want to,” An officer can be heard responding.

Gray was then searched against the car and arrested.

Gray was charged with obstruction of police business, resisting arrest and a noise violation.

She took those charges to trial and was acquitted.

Her attorney Sarah Gelsomino said they’ve filed a federal suit in the case because Gray’s rights were seriously violated and she claims Euclid Police did not take her later complaint about Officer Aoki seriously.

“She did make a civilian complaint and told the department and police chief about what happened, asking for some discipline for the officer. And, the police chief responded by saying ‘I understand you had a wardrobe malfunction, too bad…’ There was no discipline for the officer. There was actually no real investigation into that complaint,” Gelsomino said.

Euclid’s officials had no comment saying they don’t comment on pending litigation.

Gray said as part of her lawsuit against the department she’s also asking that Euclid Police officers be retrained so that no one goes through what she did over a noise complaint.

“Euclid Ohio Police Department needs to be restructured, retrained, educated and do the job of due diligence of protecting and serving the right and correct way,” Gray said.

FOX 8 Received calls from people close to Officer Aoki who said what’s said in the lawsuit isn’t an accurate representation of the James Aoki as a man and as an officer.

They said he has served Euclid for many years and goes out of his way to help residents there.

Meantime, the Euclid NAACP released the following statement Friday afternoon:

“At this time we are concerned about the serious allegations that have surfaced involving officer Aoki of the Euclid Police Department.

The Euclid NAACP received information that there had been a lawsuit filed against officer Aoki for ‘unconstitutional search and seizure and malicious prosecution.’ It is important for the public to know that the victim in this case is truly a ‘victim’ as she has been acquitted of all charges. It was also discovered that Officer Aoki was not forthcoming in his testimony. ‘At no time should citizens be comfortable with this type of behavior by any officer of the law.’

Euclid NAACP will be conducting an investigation to review any civil rights violations against the victim. Likewise, while the investigation is pending and due to the egregiousness of the allegations, we will make a request that the City of Euclid relieve Aoki from his full duties until the investigation is concluded. We believe that this is within the best interest of the community as there were errors in the officer’s testimony and pending any claims that may come forth in response to this.

We are hoping that by working together with the Mayor and the Euclid’s Police Department, we can get rid of officers that make community policing relationships difficult. It’s the only way trust will be restored by all involved.”

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