CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams dodged questions Tuesday on why he’s not handing over a murder case that may involve Mayor Frank Jackson’s 22-year-old grandson, Frank Q. Jackson.
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley told 19 News last week that Williams should bring in another agency to investigate the homicide that happened on Clark Avenue outside First Class Barber Shop in broad daylight on Aug. 28.
Antonio Parra, 30, of Warrensville Heights, was standing outside the shop when he was shot multiple times and died on scene.
O’Malley says investigators believe the mayor’s grandson is a prime suspect in the murder, after witnesses said they saw Jackson flee the scene in his blue Volkswagen Passat with the suspected shooters.
A Volkswagen that looked similar to Jackson’s was found torched on Aug. 30 on the city’s East Side. Jackson said he had sold the car months ago, but 19 News discovered that he received a traffic ticket in the Passat on Aug. 9. Jackson’s Passat is now missing.
O’Malley and at least two councilmen -- Matt Zone and Mike Polensek -- said there’s a clear conflict of interest in the case since the prime suspect is the chief’s boss’s grandson.
According to the Ohio Ethics Commission, “The conflict of interest law prohibits a public official or employee from using or authorizing the use of his or her public position to get a benefit for the official or employee or for anyone else with whom he or she is closely connected. The law also prohibits the official or employee from using his or her public position to avoid a detriment for the official or closely connected person.”
For this reason, Attorney Richard Koblentz explains,"Investigators should not even have the appearance of an impropriety, in order to gain the trust of the public in the integrity of the results of the investigation. This will ensure the acceptance by the public of the results of the investigation."
19 News reporter Hannah Catlett was the first journalist to get Williams on camera since the investigation began.
Williams was walking into a meeting at Tri-C in civilian clothes, after he avoided requests for interviews for weeks.
Catlett stopped him to ask about why his department has not brought in an independent agency to handle the case.
Catlett: We just want to know why you’re not handing over that investigation that involves the Mayor’s grandson.
Williams: Why should I?
Catlett: Well, there are a lot of people calling for it...why wouldn’t you?
Williams: Who is?
Catlett: The council members, prosecutors.
Williams: Nobody’s contacted me directly about that.
Catlett tried to ask a few more questions about the case, like: why wasn’t a gun residue test performed on Frank Q Jackson, and why haven’t we seen any body camera footage from the day of the murder?
“I’m not going to talk about an ongoing investigation,” concluded Williams.
Sydney Saffold, the attorney representing the mayor’s grandson, said her client had “absolutely nothing to do” with the Aug. 28 deadly shooting.
Meanwhile, Jackson has been charged with felonious assault, abduction and failure to comply with an officer, after he was accused of viciously beating his 18-year-old girlfriend on June 10 on the city’s East Side.
Jackson wasn’t charged at the time of the incident, even though a CMHA policeman spotted him passing by the crime scene and ordered him to stop. Jackson, instead, fled in his Ford F-150 truck, driving the wrong way down a one-way street.
He was charged by county prosecutors in the assault case earlier this month after local media outlets reported on the incident.