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    Thursday, November 09, 2006

    Cleveland Police Officer Beckwith Badge 1047

    I worked till after midnight. And as I pulled out of my parking garage I was so wound up, that I thought a beer on the way home sounded nice. It had been a long day. So I head over to Ohio City to go to the Bier Markt. I'm thinking Belgian.

    By the time I got to W25th St, I felt the wiser about having a drink. I realized how tired I really was. So I decided to just skip it and drive home. I meant to turn onto Lorain from W25th Street, but I missed the turn. And in my confusion to figure out where I might turn around, I apparently crashed a red light too, because the next thing I know, I am being pulled over by the Cleveland Police.

    I was taught long ago to keep your hands up on the steering wheel where they can be seen. Officer Beckwith, Badge 1047, walks up to my window and demands my license and my proof of insurance. I provide these without incident, making no sudden moves. It is late, it is dark, and right now I am really glad I hadn't touched a drop to drink. He hands me back my proof of insurance, and takes my drivers license back to his cruiser.

    He comes back a few minutes later with a ticket written out for running a red light, and lists it as a fourth degree misdemeanor due to a speeding conviction within the last year, and thus I get a mandatory court date. He tells me to sign it. I point out to him that the address at the top of the ticket is my old address and ask him if he'd like my new address, and he tells me he doesn't care about that. I then see the court date is the day before Thanksgiving and remember that I'll be out of town. I ask him if it is possible to assign me a different date right now. He tells me he cannot, and that if I want another date, then I need to go to the clerk of courts next week and sign a waiver and they'll just give me another date there. Sign a waiver? I ask him what kind of waiver. He says "a waiver." I'll admit, I don't have a lot of experience with traffic court, but I was skeptical that they'd be so accommodating. So, next to the signature line -- where the revised address information would go if he'd have wanted it, I begin to write, "Per Officer Beckwith, date can be continued upon signing waiver." Only I don't get to finish writing that. Officer Beckwith forcibly grabs my left wrist and the ticket (and the metal box it sits on) out of my hands, slamming my left hand right into my steering wheel and he starts screaming at me: Did I tell you to write that? Did I tell you you could write anything except to sign your own name? Am I going to have to treat you like my four year old? What did I tell you to do? What did I tell you to do? And I'm dumbfounded -- literally I don't know what to say. And then he says, you want me to arrest you? You want to spend the night in jail? I'll pull you out of this car right now and take you down to jail. And I'm thinking, well, no, I really don't want that. But I just look at him, and I start to tell him that I was just writing down -- and he interrupts me -- tells me to shut up, that you don't get to write down anything. I didn't tell you you could, all you are allowed to do is sign your name. So I look at him, and say, "can I do that" or something to that effect. He jams the box back into my hand -- which is throbbing at this point -- and I sign the ticket. And then, get this, the copy of the ticket he gives me -- he had already torn out (which I am also confident the police are not supposed to do) -- so my copy doesn't have my signature or the note I tried to write in the margin of the ticket.

    I was pretty angry at this point. I rode down to the Cleveland Police Second District stationhouse on Fulton and got the complaint form. I normally give police officers a lot of respect, and lot of slack because their job is difficult. But the actions of this officer were outrageous, unnecessary and uncalled for. He overreacted, and he had no business putting his hands on me. And as I type this, my hand still hurts from when he grabbed me and slammed my hand into the steering wheel.

    For all my gripes about the redlight cameras, I've never been assaulted by one.

    Comments on "Cleveland Police Officer Beckwith Badge 1047"


    Blogger Jill said ... (8:24 AM, November 09, 2006) : 

    Wow. Thank you for sharing this. It really doesn't matter if the officer was having a bad day too. His job requires him to respect certain rights and behave a certain way, just like the rest of us. Of course we hope that he hadn't just lost his kid in a fire or been told that he had a terminal illness or something. But none of that would matter anyway - he was dead wrong in how he treated you and I thank you for reporting it. Some people might not take the time to file a complaint or be worried about retribution or who knows what. But seriously, you have no idea if lots of others have been treated just as badly by this one officer.

    Good luck and I hope your hand is okay and you let us know what happens.


    Blogger Kristen said ... (8:25 AM, November 09, 2006) : 

    I think you should have lobbed a glass bottle at his windshield as you drove away. It's just desserts at that point.


    Blogger Gina Ventre said ... (8:45 AM, November 09, 2006) : 

    Holy shit!


    Blogger anne said ... (8:58 AM, November 09, 2006) : 

    I bet he kicks dogs and hates children too.


    Blogger Brian Kornell said ... (9:04 AM, November 09, 2006) : 

    There is no excuse for that cop's behavior!


    Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:01 AM, November 09, 2006) : 

    Lemme guess...he spends his off hours at Castlebar.


    Blogger MrsTito said ... (12:23 PM, November 09, 2006) : 

    Angry Republican?


    Anonymous Kathleen said ... (1:18 PM, November 09, 2006) : 

    Did he sign the ticket? It's not valid if he didn't sign.

    Also, jut think. You get to give him the evil eye in court when you meet face to face again.


    Blogger Mr. Bebout said ... (4:26 PM, November 09, 2006) : 

    poonlqy: Word verification.
    I am sure you are just over reacting. It could be that he thought you were a terrorist. We are at Orange level you know.
    You should just be happy that you were not shot which I am sure was well within the officer's right.


    Anonymous Evil John said ... (7:10 PM, November 09, 2006) : 

    Ooo... beaten to the sarcasm! I must check here more often.

    Good show for pursuing this. That sort of thing hurts everybody.

    Speaking of word verification, the last three have all been the names of former girlfriends: This one's "Tvzznoe".


    Blogger Audient said ... (7:43 PM, November 09, 2006) : 

    Thanks, everyone, for your supportive comments.


    Blogger Jason Sonenshein said ... (8:28 PM, November 09, 2006) : 

    God, how terrible! I wonder if there's dashboard camera footage of the incident.

    I think the waiver is a waiver of your right to a speedy trial.

    I think the Municipal Court also has a form you can sign to plead not guilty without appearing at arraignment, but it might just be for minor misdemeanors. If I remember correctly, it's a pink form.


    Blogger Audient said ... (8:46 PM, November 09, 2006) : 

    I was wondering about the dashboard footage myself. It would show him reaching in through my window, perhaps, but probably not what happenned once his hands were in my car.

    I assume it is a speedy trial waiver as well, but I wanted to hear him say that.


    Anonymous Angela said ... (11:29 PM, November 09, 2006) : 

    That is not surprising, and I am very sorry that happened to you. I recently received a ticket at the corner of Vincent and e 6th for "running" a stop sign. The motorcycle cop was very rude. In addition to my ticket, he also gave me an infraction for "an unsafe vehicle" because my windshield was cracked, thus putting the ticket at $214 instead of like $150 or whatever. But his demeanor-now I'm regretting not filing a complaint. And I was very confused about the "waiver" thing too. Not to mention the clerk of court phone number hangs up on you when you are on hold....thanks for taking the time to fill out the complaint. Hopefully it will be taken seriously.


    Blogger melcarrel said ... (8:39 AM, November 10, 2006) : 

    well, at least you aren't this guy...


    Blogger melcarrel said ... (8:45 AM, November 10, 2006) : 

    ...although, if you were, then you would get alot of publicity, then the media would want your story for a made for tv movie, and then you would make alot of money off that, and then all your friends would use you for your money, and then Kristen would be writing a review of the movie on her blog. It would get ugly. So be glad it was just your hand!


    Blogger Kristen said ... (11:42 AM, November 10, 2006) : 

    Touche Mel Carrel, touche.


    Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:30 PM, November 10, 2006) : 



    Blogger Head Knob said ... (10:55 PM, November 10, 2006) : 

    fuck "anonymous". sounds to me like the cop tripped out on roid rage. or lack of semen...


    Blogger debra said ... (9:56 AM, September 05, 2007) : 

    Welcome to the Second District...its obvious you don't live around here or you would not be surprised by this behavior.
    Another bit of interesting info - the Second District statistics (actually Cleveland in general) tickets issued in comparison to crimes solved (arrests and charges for violent and theft crimes). The numbers for traffic violations fAr exceeds that of crimes. And you would expect that it would, but I mean FAR FAR exceeds that of crimes. If you are a resident in the 2nd District (I am) and have need for police protection, Good Luck.


    Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:25 AM, June 02, 2010) : 

    I know this cop. He gave me a ticket for tinted windows. I tried to tell him I purchased the car from the dealership this way, he said take them to court.

    He's a total dick.

    He treated me exactly the way you described. Very rude, Not interested in anything but issuing a ticket.


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