Council President Wants More Info In Mayor's Grandson Case
Cleveland’s city council president said he needs more information to determine if the city should have been more involved in prosecuting Mayor Frank Jackson’s grandson in an assault case that’s ended up in the hands of the county prosecutor after inaction by Cleveland officials.
City Council President Kevin Kelley said the city prosecutor may not have been given key information that would have led to charges against the mayor’s grandson, Frank Q. Jackson, but that a final determination on the matter would take time to emerge.
"Might [the city prosecutor] have made a different decision? You know, maybe," Kelley said. "But I don't know that I have enough information right now to say conclusively that this should have happened or that because, again, information is coming forth."
The city's prosecutor, Karrie Howard, said in a Sept. 6 statement that the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA), which originally investigated the incident, withheld information in its initial reports to the city.
"It is now clear that the matter... was presented by a CMHA detective who failed to provide ALL the evidence related to this matter," Howard wrote.
CMHA said in a statement Sept. 9 that it supported the actions of its police department.
"The Assistant City Prosecutor was briefed on the matter and was provided all pertinent facts," the statement said. "He gave a cursory review of the investigation file and decided not to prosecute. CMHA’s Police Department did not withhold any evidence nor was any additional evidence requested by the Assistant Prosecutor."
CMHA said it would continue to collaborate with the City of Cleveland’s Prosecutor’s Office as requested.
Kelley says City Council isn’t currently planning to take any additional action now, but that could change as the investigation continues.
Councilman Matt Zone, who chairs the council's Safety Committee, said the city should recuse itself from any follow-up investigations into the case.
"It would be my recommendation that an outside policing agency other than the Cleveland Police Department does the follow up investigation into what happened in this situation," Zone said. "It insulates the mayor and it gives a high level of comfort and clarity to the community that this is an open and fair process."
Frank Q. Jackson, 22, pleaded not guilty on Sept. 9 in connection with a June incident in which an 18-year-old woman was beaten at a gas station on East 40th Street and Quincy Avenue. The woman later told CMHA police that she did not want to pursue criminal charges.
CMHA police reported details of the case to the city prosecutor's office in July, but the office declined to pursue charges at the time. The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor later picked up the case, arraigning Frank Q. Jackson on four felony charges Sept. 4.
Kelley said he hopes the relationship between Frank Q. Jackson and the mayor doesn't shift attention from what he believes should be the true focus of the case: preventing violence.
"We've got to remember that there's a victim out there, and that should should be our first priority," he said. "Where we really need to focus is on making sure that victims of domestic violence receive justice, and that should dictate whatever steps we take going forward."