TWO OFFICERS FACE CHARGES IN ABUSE CLAIM

The Plain Dealer
Cleveland, OH
Feb 1, 1998

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Authors: WALLY GUENTHER PLAIN DEALER REPORTER
Pagination: 4B

Abstract:

Disciplinary charges have been filed against two Cleveland police officers who burst into a West Side home and allegedly roughed up several family members while pursuing a traffic violator Jan. 14.

"Following a police investigation, Chief Rocco Pollutro and I believe the officers violated several departmental rules and regulations, and clearly acted inappropriately in this matter," Mayor Michael R. White said at a City Hall news conference yesterday.

He said the city prosecutor's office will be asked tomorrow to review the charges. Pollutro said he will conduct departmental hearings for the officers, ages 25 and 34, in late February. Officials would not release the officers' names.

(Copyright (c) The Plain Dealer 1998)

Full Text:

Disciplinary charges have been filed against two Cleveland police officers who burst into a West Side home and allegedly roughed up several family members while pursuing a traffic violator Jan. 14.

"Following a police investigation, Chief Rocco Pollutro and I believe the officers violated several departmental rules and regulations, and clearly acted inappropriately in this matter," Mayor Michael R. White said at a City Hall news conference yesterday.

He said the city prosecutor's office will be asked tomorrow to review the charges. Pollutro said he will conduct departmental hearings for the officers, ages 25 and 34, in late February. Officials would not release the officers' names.

Both White and Pollutro said they felt there was no malice intended by the officers.

Two men were arrested in the melee with the officers. White said he will recommend to the prosecutor's office that charges against them be dismissed.

Raymond Ortiz, 20, was charged with resisting arrest, a misdemeanor, and traffic offenses. Jose Rivera Ramos, 34, was charged with assault on a police officer, a felony, and resisting arrest.

Deputy Police Chief Angel Morales yesterday went to the home to tell family members about the disciplinary charges and apologize publicly on behalf of White and Pollutro.

However, Ramon Ortiz, 53, who suffered a broken rib in the incident, and other family members said they think the officers should be fired. Interpreting for the Spanish-speaking family yesterday, Katherine Ortiz, 25, Ramon Ortiz's daughter, said, "We feel they shouldn't let them work anymore. In Puerto Rico, our home country, officers who did something like this would not be allowed to work."

The Jan. 14 incident began about 9:40 p.m. when a man police later identified as Raymond Ortiz was spotted speeding to his house in the 2000 block of W. 105th St.

An officer pulled up to the house in a cruiser and used a megaphone to order him to come to the cruiser. A relative came out of the house and turned over Ortiz's license. When Ortiz refused to go to the cruiser and get his citation, officers - several of whom had arrived by then - forced their way through the front door and the scuffling began.

Ramon Ortiz was knocked down, suffering the broken rib. Family members said an officer pushed a pregnant woman against a wall. Ramon Ortiz was held for treatment overnight at MetroHealth Medical Center.

Twelve people, excluding police, were in the house at the time of the scuffle, family members said. The officers said in their incident reports that at least seven family members were involved and that the arrested men were threatening them and disobeying orders.

Pollutro said the officers will remain on duty pending the outcome of the departmental hearing and the prosecutor's findings.

The family's lawyer, Richard T. Herman, yesterday called the police action a "KGB or Chinese guerrilla-like tactic."

Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner.
Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission.

======= End of Document =======