Body camera video of Cleveland mayor’s grandson's arrest released after 10 months of record requests

Published: May. 8, 2017 at 5:54 PM EDT|Updated: May. 8, 2017 at 9:10 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - After nearly 10 months of making and following up on public record requests, and involving a station attorney, the Cleveland 19 Investigative Unit has obtained body camera video of Cleveland Police arresting Mayor Frank Jackson's grandson, Frank Q. Jackson, for illegally riding a dirt bike in July 2016.

The City of Cleveland's Division of Police have been wearing body cameras since February 2015.

According to the Cleveland Division of Police General Police Order regarding the "Wearable Camera System," Cleveland Police are to place their body cameras Systems into "Event Mode" prior to taking any police action including, but not limited to:

  • Encounters with victims, witnesses, and suspects
  • All citations, uses of forces, detentions and arrests
  • Pursuits (vehicle and foot) and emergency response driving

Those are just three examples from a lengthy General Police Order regarding the use of Wearable Camera Systems.

Frank Q. Jackson was arrested on July 31, 2016 at Martin Luther King Drive and Woodstock for illegally riding a dirt bike, among other charges. Officers attempted to charge Jackson with assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest, but their body cameras weren't turned on in a timely manner. In the body cam video obtained by Cleveland 19, you can hear police yelling at Jackson, that he'd "assaulted a police officer" and was "resisting."

Jackson said he grabbed the officer so he didn't fall onto his face. He later apologized to the officer for grabbing her. You won't see or hear the alleged assault of a police officer or resisting on that body camera though, because both officers failed to turn on their body cameras before attempting to stop Jackson, even though they admit on camera that they'd "chased" him – which means their cameras should have been on before they exited their vehicles, according to policy.

This is the first of two run-ins with Frank Q. Jackson where officers failed to activate their body cameras properly.

In April 2017, Frank Q. Jackson was pulled over at E. 30th and Orange at the I-77 entrance ramp. Police said Jackson had a male in the bed of his pick-up truck as he attempted to enter the highway. Officers pulled Jackson over, once again, failing to activate their body cameras. During what was originally thought to be a traffic stop, officers found several males in the vehicle with Jackson, one who was wanted for attempted murder, and officers also found a gun inside pick-up truck.

Cleveland 19 placed a public record request for the body camera video from this incident as well. Here is the city of Cleveland Records Department's response:

"There is no body camera video with report."

Both incidents involving the mayor's grandson should have involved body camera recordings. In each incident, officers directly violate the General Police Order for Wearable Camera System (WCS).

Cleveland 19 placed a public record request for all police reports and Daily Duty Reports filed by police supervisors for incidents where a member of the Cleveland Police Department failed to activate their "Wearable Camera System" (WCS).  The General Police Order for Wearable Camera Systems makes it clear that supervisors are to "ensure members assigned to a WCS are using them in compliance with this order and determine the level of investigation for violations of this order."  Cleveland's Department of Public Records denied our request for the public records stating:

Here is the response:

?This request is denied because it is overbroad.  The City does not organize its databases or electronic/paper records in a way that allows the City to search without extensive research for the specific subset of records  containing the select information you request.    State ex Rel. Shaughnessy v. Cleveland, 2016-Ohio-8447.   Daily Duty Reports are maintained under officer name and by report date.  Please revise your request and resubmit it.

The public record request was rephrased and resubmitted.

The General Police Order for Wearable Camera Systems makes it clear that supervisors are to "ensure members assigned to a WCS are using them in compliance with this order and determine the level of investigation for violations of this order." Supervisors are also to "document in their Daily Duty Report any incident in which a member notifies them about an incident in which the WCS should have been activated, but was not."

Why aren't the requested records available if they are supposed to be documented, per the GPO?  Why has the mayor's grandson had two run-ins with police where officers didn't have their body cameras on at all, or didn't turn them on until several minutes into interaction with him?

We asked Mayor Frank Jackson what he thought about the video from his grandson's July arrest and the missing video and he said "I didn't see the video of it, what I saw was a portion of something because if I'm not mistaken, I don't know if they turned the cameras on ... so all of the stuff leading up to it, but they turned it on when they asked him a couple questions."

We asked the mayor why police didn't have their cameras on, and the mayor said "you need to ask them [police]."

Two of the video clips Cleveland 19 reviewed before officially requesting were missing audio once they were released to our investigative unit. The city of Cleveland said they are working to provide us with the corrected clips. In one of the clips where the female officer is taking information down from Jackson, she asks Jackson "are you related to anyone?" after getting his name. He responded "Yes, Mayor Jackson," and said he is the mayor's grandson.

When we receive the corrected clips with audio, we will provide those to you.

More on Cleveland 19

Carl Monday: Mayor responds to grandson riding dirt bikes on city streets

Carl Monday Investigation: dirt bike, ATV crackdown in Cleveland: Parts 1 & 2

A closer look at Mayor Frank Jackson's comment about gun culture in Cleveland

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