Cleveland mayor on grandson’s case: ‘You can choose to believe the media, or you can believe me’

19 News poses questions to Mayor Frank Jackson after multiple requests for interview were denied

Cleveland mayor on grandson's case: 'You can choose to believe the media or you can believe me'

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - After more than two weeks of questions, Mayor Frank Jackson broke his silence regarding questions about his grandson, but the mayor did it in an interview conducted by Cleveland City Hall.

19 News has made repeated requests to interview the mayor and his staff following a handful of incidents involving his grandson, 22-year-old Frank Q. Jackson. 19 News was denied an interview.

On Thursday, the mayor’s office released a video interview in which the mayor denied being involved or interfering with his grandsons criminal cases. However, the interview leaves many asking more questions, because the mayor himself asked a lot of questions rather than providing answers.

“Should everything be reviewed if it involves the mayor’s family? Should it be reviewed if it involves anybody who has any kind of authority?” Mayor Jackson asked.

The mayor doesn’t think so.

“At the city, we have a process that is in place and that process is a valid and legitimate process that is not interfered with," he said.

Others think it should be reviewed and they believe cases involving his grandson should have been handed off to an outside agency.

“I would say to the administration and I would say to the mayor: ‘Let an outside agency come in here. let the chips fall where they may,’ ” Cleveland City Councilman Mike Polensek said.

If 19 News had the chance to ask the mayor and police chief questions, we would ask:

  • Why not turn the investigation over? If there’s nothing to hide, what could it hurt?
  • Wouldn’t it lend another layer of transparency to prove there wasn’t any interference by the mayor?

“The question to me is why would it come up now? I didn’t interfere in the process then. I didn’t interfere in it now," Mayor Jackson also asked.

City prosecutors declined to file charges against 22-year-old Jackson in a recent assault and abduction case.

It wasn’t until the county got involved that he was indicted by a grand jury. The case prompted many to ask, why did the city not pursue the case in the first place?

“When my grandson was charged with offenses and arrested on other occasions this issue of whether or not you needed oversight did not come up," the mayor said.

In the mayor’s grandson’s other cases, there were no known delays or questions about filing charges.

In 2017, Frank Q. was arrested for having guns, drugs, and ammo in his car. Two months before that, police pulled him over for having a wanted murder suspect in the backseat. In 2016, he was arrested in a dirt bike riding incident where he was accused of assaulting an officer.

“I never told anybody to turn off their camera," said the mayor.

Mayor Frank Jackson vehemently denied that he told officers to turn off their body cameras outside his home.

Officers were responding to the mayor’s house to interview suspects after a murder.

It’s a case that the prosecutors office has named the mayor’s grandson, Frank Q. Jackson as the prime suspect.

“The mayor did not tell anyone to turn off or turn on a camera," Mayor Jackson said.

The mayor denied it again in a recorded interview with city hall, while speaking in third person.

If officers weren’t told to turn off their cameras, 19 News wants to know:

  • Where is the video of the interview?
  • Why hasn’t it been released?

19 News has asked for it several times. 19 News did receive body camera footage of officers responding immediately after the murder. 19 News also received video showing a burned out car believed to belong to the 22-year-old Jackson was released.

According to police policy, body cameras should be turned on at all times unless otherwise directed by a supervisor.

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