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911 calls reveal Cleveland Police took more than half an hour to respond to scene of a dying 5-year-old hit by car

Published: May. 4, 2022 at 12:21 AM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Neighbors say there was a long wait after their urgent calls for help.

19 Investigates obtained 911 calls that reveal it took more than half an hour for police to show up to the scene of a hit-skip in which a 5-year-old girl died.

Neighbors told our 19 News crew on the scene that night that it took what seemed like a long time for the police to arrive.

Witnesses say they were trying to get urgent information about the hit and run to Cleveland Police.

“Detectives need to come and look at what’s going on,” one witness said.

We discovered calls were still coming in 31 minutes after a conversation between two dispatchers.

Their discussion is the first of six recordings the city released to 19 Investigates.

At 6:18 the Cleveland dispatcher is perhaps overwhelmed but says she was indeed working to get officers to West 50th.

“It was a blue vehicle hit-skip,” the dispatcher said. “Ok. I’m getting it over here. My brain is shut off.”

Twelve minutes later though, another call comes in.

“There’s some people who have some information. You can’t get a car over here?” the man asks.

The dispatcher says, “We’re getting tons of calls for it. We have police on the way.”

By that time, the caller says an ambulance arrived and is about to take Apolina Asumani to the hospital.

That’s where police say she later died from her injuries.

At 6:44 another man calls and says he has video of the suspect.

“I got Ring on my camera, I got the car. We’ve been over here waiting for the police, and ain’t nobody showed up yet,” the witness said.

It’s video he wanted detectives to see as soon as possible to help catch the person.

“We’ve been out here waiting and a police car hasn’t been up here yet,” he said again.

All the while neighbors, regular citizens, and heartbroken mothers themselves are trying to preserve the crime scene.

“We’re just here waiting,” one mom said. “We have the street blocked off waiting for police... I don’t want nobody to mess with anything.”

The mom’s call came in at 6:47-- that’s 31 minutes after that first conversation we have on record between dispatchers.

“I’m trying to figure out what’s going on,” the mom said. “A little girl just got hit in front of my house. I’m trying to see if they are coming.”

The call lasts almost five minutes, and police still hadn’t arrived when the dispatcher got off with the woman.

The dispatcher told her, “Yeah, I would definitely talk to officers. It looks like they’ve been on the way for a few minutes now. They should be pulling up any time.

Police did catch that 17-year-old driver. But, it was because a passenger in the car returned to the scene after police had arrived and gave officers information.

We requested a full call log to find out more about what happened behind the scenes and when the initial call came in from a witness. It had to be sometime before that dispatcher conversation that happened at 6:18.

So far though, the city has only released the 911 calls themselves.

We reached out to the police department and the city twice since this incident for an explanation of what took so long. So far-- we haven’t gotten a reply.

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