Police officer charged in boy's shooting

CLEVELAND (AP) - A patrolman has been charged with felonious assault in the shooting of a 12-year-old boy.
A prosecutor says Edward Lentz Jr. acted recklessly and then lied about the shooting of Lorenzo Locklear in December 2001 near then-Mayor-elect Jane Campbell's house.
"I don't believe Lentz was justified in shooting," said city Prosecutor Sanford Watson. He recommended that Cuyahoga County Prosecutor William Mason seek an indictment.
Lentz, 33, turned himself in to police Wednesday night. His
lawyer predicted he will be exonerated.
"He didn't go looking for this guy," Patrick D'Angelo said.
"He was doing his job."
Locklear's lawyer, Gordon Friedman, said Lentz was reckless and used excessive force.
Lentz was guarding Campbell's house near Shaker Square when
Locklear drove by in a stolen car.
Watson said after interviewing 22 witnesses and examining the car and Lentz's clothing, that Lentz grabbed onto the car as it was driving past him. He was briefly dragged and then climbed on top of the car, Watson said. He then fired 14 shots into the car.
"There doesn't seem to be any evidence that Lentz faced a
serious threat of death to himself or anyone else," Watson said.
Bob Beck, head of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association, said he was frustrated and angered by the ruling.
"I'm disappointed that officials would charge a police officer acting in good faith while defending himself in an assault by a known street thug," Beck said.
After being treated for his wounds, Locklear was charged with delinquency by way of felonious assault, drug possession and receiving stolen property. But the charges were dropped.
The city prosecutor also ruled that police acted properly in six other shootings, three of which were fatal.
Councilman Zach Reed, chairman of the Public Safety Committee, said he intends to hold hearings on the shootings.
"I'm sure one of the things we'll discuss is the use-of-deadly-force policy," he said.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)