Police Chief Crying Foul Over Newspaper Report - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Police Chief Crying Foul Over Newspaper Report

AKRON, Ohio - Akron's police chief is crying foul over a newspaper report that alleged police brutality, 19/43 News' Paul Orlousky reported.

Chief Michael Matulavich minced no words on Tuesday. He could barely contain himself as he condemned a report that was published in the Akron Beacon Journal.

"This is a disgusting article," Matulavich said. "It's uncorroborated.

"This newspaper article did more irreparable harm to this police department than any of our community policing efforts could ever overcome as far as I'm concerned."

The article was about 74-year-old James Campbell, who claimed that he was tackled by police officers outside of Chapel Hill Mall. Campbell was questioned after a man wearing similar clothing was spotted in the mall parking lot breaking into cars.

No one answered the door at Campbell's home when 19/43 News knocked on Tuesday, but his version of the events is contained in a taped police interview.

"He ran, jumped on my back and rode me to the ground," Campbell can be heard saying on the tape.

The fact that the suspect was 30 years old and Campbell is 74 ignited days of calls to radio talk shows and allegations of racial profiling.

To try to calm the situation, police went on some of the radio shows and asked that anyone who had been at the mall and who might have witnessed what they considered to be police brutality to come forward, but no one did.

Todd Phillips, who made the initial call to police, gave a statement that police acted properly in his opinion, thus the Campbell claim was ruled unfounded.

"I am not attacking Mr. Campbell," Phillips said. "I think in his mind he feels that this incident happened."

The Beacon Journal said that it had contacted three supervisors in the Akron Police Department before publishing the story. Reporters said that no one told them that officers denied Campbell's allegations.

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