Newly obtained body camera footage shows response to Cleveland mayor’s home during homicide investigation

Published: Mar. 6, 2020 at 11:47 AM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - After more than six months of repeated public records requests, 19 News investigators just obtained portions of police body camera footage showing the initial police response to the Cleveland mayor’s home in connection with a homicide investigation.

On Aug. 28, officers went to Jackson’s house after a vehicle registered to his grandson was seen speeding away from the scene of a murder on Clark Avenue.

Antonio Parra, 30, of Warrensville Heights, was standing outside of a barber shop on Clark near West 51st Street when he was shot multiple times in broad daylight.

Hours after the killing, investigators went to the mayor’s East 38th Street home, where they questioned a juvenile and towed a truck belonging to his grandson, Frank Q. Jackson.

Two days later, Jackson’s blue Volkswagen Passat, the same vehicle witnesses described fleeing the homicide scene, was found torched being a building on Holton Avenue.

In September, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley told 19 News his grandson was a “prime suspect” in the murder. Jackson has not been charged.

Sydney Saffold, the attorney representing the mayor’s grandson, previously said her client had “absolutely nothing to do” with the deadly shooting.

Immediately following Parra’s murder, 19 News requested body camera footage of officers at the mayor’s house. Our requests were initially denied.

Today the city released five video clips from police to 19 News after multiple public records requests.

The footage provided only shows officers initially approaching the mayor’s house. It does not show Jackson or homicide investigators.

“Q’s at the mayor’s house right now," an officer can be heard saying as he walks up to the mayor’s house. "He just pulled up and Gomez asked to us to detain him so we’re gonna go up to the door and try to grab him, OK?”

You can also hear that same officer telling dispatch, “I could use another car over here, quietly.”

In the video, we see officers knock on the mayor’s door.

“We need to talk with you for a minute," an officer tells someone inside the home. “Is your dad here too?” the officer asks.

A woman comes to the door and asks the officer, “What happened?”

“We got a situation,” the officer replied.

“With who?” she asked.

The video cuts off before we hear anything else.

While on scene, officers also notice someone is inside the grandson’s truck and begin to search him.

“We’re just checking you because we have a situation here," the officer tells him. “I’ll explain it all in a minute, I promise I would not come to the mayor’s house and cause a disturbance unless I had good reason.”

“I didn’t give consent to search me thought,” the male tells the officer.

The portion of the audio where the male tells officers his name was redacted from the footage given to 19 News.

In the footage, officers can also be heard discussing their body-worn cameras and asking each other if they have them turned on.

Multiple law enforcement sources previously told 19 News that the mayor told detectives investigating the homicide not to use their body cameras while at his house.

Jackson repeatedly denied this.

“I have not told anyone to do anything," Jackson previously said.

According to CPD policy, police officers are supposed to hit record before taking any police action. That includes talking to suspects, victims and witnesses during arrests and traffic stops.

Officers are only supposed to turn off their body cameras when the incident is over, or a supervisor tells them to stop.

19 News has reported a history of CPD breaking its body camera policy in the past.

It happened during two arrests involving Frank Q. Jackson.

The mayor’s grandson was accused of assaulting a police officer in 2016, but you don’t see or hear this on the body camera video 19 News received through a public records request.

That’s because both officers failed to turn on their body cameras, even though, according to department policy, their cameras should have been on before they exited their vehicles.

In 2017, police pulled the mayor’s grandson over for a traffic violation and found a gun and a wanted homicide suspect in his truck.

19 News asked for a copy of that body camera video, but we were told it didn’t exist.

When 19 News first requested police footage from the mayor’s house on Aug. 28, we were told that the video was exempt from being released as it was part of a confidential law enforcement investigation.

We still do not know if Jackson or anyone else asked the initial responding officers to turn their cameras off while at his home on Aug. 28.

The video clips provided end once officers begin talking to a woman at the mayor’s house and start questioning the male in the truck. The mayor’s grandson is never seen or heard being interviewed by officers.

We also do not know if any of the additional officers or detectives who later arrived on scene were wearing body camera or if they had them activated.

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