A damning bit of history about the Cleveland PD.
The Ongoing Failure of Cleveland Police to Take Violence Against Women Seriously - Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money
When serial killer Anthony Sowell was arrested at his Imperial Avenue home on Cleveland’s east side in 2009, people asked many of the questions they’re now starting to ask about the Castro brothers. How did Sowell pull this off without anyone noticing? The bodies of the 11 women he killed were stashed in his house and buried in the yard; you’d think that may be something that neighbors may notice. Actually, neighbors did notice that something was up – they called authorities numerous times. In fact, people had complained about the smell from the decomposing bodies as early as 2006. Even though the police visited the area numerous times, the odor was wrongly attributed a neighboring sausage factory. Sowell had been arrested for rape and served 15 years in prison; upon his release in 2005 he registered as a sex offender.
In 2008 a woman by the name of Gladys Wade was attacked by Sowell – he punched her, and tried to choke and rape her. She managed to escape and went to police to report the crime. Even though police arrested Sowell, and he was a registered sex offender, they released him due to insufficient evidence. A CBS News investigation showed that police believed Sowell over the woman making the complaint. After Sowell’s release, he murdered six more women. Those were six lives that could have been saved if police would have taken action after Wade reported the attack. With the 11 women that Sowell murdered, he targeted people that were troubled, or down on their luck. He raped numerous others that managed to get away; some attempted to go to the police with their story. When one woman tried to report her rape to police, they seemed to blow her off and told her come into the police station in order to file a formal report. The woman, who had been brutally raped by Sowell over the course of several hours, was physically unable to get to the police station. A year later (not long after Sowell’s arrest), the same woman was arrested by police for an open container violation, and once again she tried to report the rape. The police laughed at her and made a joke about her wanting to have smoked crack with Sowell. The woman wasn’t taken seriously until she testified in court against Sowell, and the judge ordered police to take her statement.
Many of the women that Sowell attacked or killed had problems with drug addiction; in fact, he was able to lure many of them to his home with the promise of drugs. All of his victims were African American, and none came from an affluent social status. Sowell likely targeted women like this because he thought that police wouldn’t ask a lot of questions about a junkie, or they’d assume the women just skipped town. Even when families reported some of these women missing, authorities seemed to imply that they probably just left the area of their own free will. Many of the women that Sowell assaulted that survived felt like the system had failed them; they were less likely to push the issue with police. After the house of horrors was uncovered on Imperial Avenue, citizens optimistically hoped that things would change, that this terrible event would at least keep complaints from being ignored in the future, especially when they concerned violence against women.
Just six months after Sowell’s arrest, though, Cleveland police once again came under heat for essentially ignoring a claim of violence against a woman. (Although to be fair, for all they knew it was a woman or a man). Before dawn, a man traveling on Interstate 90 on Cleveland’s west side called authorities to report what appeared to be a dead body by the side of the highway. Officers were dispatched to the scene to investigate the claim, and they eventually reported that it was a dead deer and that the Ohio Department of Transportation should be called to take care of it. Apparently, the officers never even got out of their car and left to go on their break after they investigated the call. About an hour later, another person called to report the body by the side of the road. Fifteen minutes after that call, came yet another call. The dispatcher told one of the callers that it had already been investigated and was just a dead deer. The caller emphatically stated that it was definitely a dead body; he was standing next to it. It turns out it was a mother of three named of Angel Bradley Crockett, dumped naked by the side of the road after she was killed.