Cleveland Police officer calls woman ‘dumb [expletive]’; punishment possible (video)

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 9:52 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - 19 Investigates discovered two police officers in Cleveland are being scrutinized for the way they treated a woman they were frustrated with last year.

Investigator Hannah Catlett obtained an alarming video of the incident and the aftermath.

Imagine getting a demanding phone call from strangers in the middle of the night claiming to be Cleveland police officers.

Marie Nader tells 19 Investigates that’s what happened to her.

She couldn’t tell if it was actually officers who called her in April of 2020 or scammers.

She says they called from a personal cell phone number that came through on her phone as a Zillow referral.

They were demanding a code for this lockbox on a home she was selling.

“I don’t know why this has to be so difficult for you,” one officer said on scene.

As you can see in the body camera footage we obtained, it was Cleveland police who called her.

Officers tell neighbors they were called to the home Nader was selling in reference to a kidnapping, but they quickly realized there was no urgent scene.

“We’re getting a call that somebody is being held hostage there,” one officer said. “That’s why we’re all here. But, it looks kind of vacant to us.”

There was, indeed, no actual kidnapping, but officers needed to get in the house to clear the scene and move on to their next call.

Nader says she asked officers how to call the police station or have someone call her to verify their story before giving out the code to the house.

While Nader is on speakerphone, one of the officers says, “Just ask her what her f**** number is, that way we can get directly a hold of her. Stop making this difficult.”

After confirming with dispatch that it was indeed police calling from that night Nader let them in.

Nader says she isn’t anti-police. She backs the blue and has several close friends and family who serve in law enforcement.

But, in the days following the incident, she filed a complaint with CPD because she was still upset about the way officers treated her in this case.

19 Investigates happened to be in a disciplinary meeting where the complaint was discussed, and that’s how we uncovered the part of this story that Nader didn’t even know until we told her.

CPD Investigators told Cleveland’s Citizen Police Discipline Review Board that when they looked into this case, not only did they hear the one officer dropping the ‘F’ bomb, but they also heard a different officer call the realtor the ‘B’ word.

That officer can be heard on camera talking to his colleagues about the officer who’s taken over talking to Nader. He says, “He’s probably getting pissed off, going “this dumb b****.”

“If she was attending this hearing she’s going to know that comment was made,” Investigator Art Bowker said during the hearing.

Roger Smith was in the meeting representing the city’s Office of Professional Standards.

He told members of the board, “You cannot exonerate behavior where an officer is captured on [body camera] calling a member of the public a dumb b****. You cannot do that.”

Members then began to argue over whether that officer’s comment diminished the esteem of the police department and is worthy of punishment.

Roslyn Quarto doesn’t think it is.

She said, “I think even talking about it is almost a waste of effort.”

Nader forwarded us the notice she got about the outcome of her complaint.

It says the review board voted to punish the officer who initially cussed at her over the phone that night.

The letter didn’t include any information about the officer who called her the ‘B’ word.

“It’s definitely in the public now,” Bowker said in the meeting.

The review board went back and forth over whether the officer who used the B-word should be punished too.

Board member Chenoa Miler said, “I think overall whether he was using the ‘F’ word, the ‘B’ word or any vulgar language it should not be tolerated at all.”

On the contrary, Quarto said, “I pretty much guarantee you that if officers kept their [body cameras] on all day, that’s what we would hear all day. If nobody heard it, there is no public esteem issue.”

It’s unclear who heard the comment though.

Police themselves are heard on camera talking about how public this scene became that night.

“The entire neighborhood is out here watching us stand here like idiots,” one officer said while standing on the porch, waiting to get into the home.

Board member Ashley Mostella said, “That language isn’t supported in any workplace that I know of. So, I don’t know why this would be any different.”

Quarto said, “I don’t disagree. My issue is, should we be looking at all [body camera] footage to make sure we hold everybody to the same standard? We just happened to catch a moment on this [body camera].”

Those in the city’s Office of Professional standards argue that anything caught on body camera is a public record.

However, the majority of the board decided not to recommend punishment for the officer who used the B-word.

“That vote is going to change a perception of the board that will not be changed by any explanations going forward,” Smith said.

In the time since the complaint was filed last spring, the city says the officer was promoted to work in the sex crimes unit.

It’s now up to the chief whether he will accept the board recommendation not to punish or hand down discipline to him anyways.

We’ll keep you updated on this developing story.

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