Investigator: Young professional accuses cops of harassment, intimidation

2:11 PM, Aug 17, 2011   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- Cleveland police have launched an internal investigation into two undercover cops accused of harassing and intimidating a young business professional during the lunch hour downtown.

Matthew Spring, 21, is employed as a summer intern at a top Cleveland company. When he headed to lunch for a quick sandwich, he says he wasn't looking for trouble, but he sure found it.

He says as he tried to cross Superior Avenue at E. 9th Street, an unmarked car began revving its engine. Spring says he pointed to the crosswalk signal, showing he had the right of way.

Little did he know that inside the car were two undercover Cleveland police officers. Spring said they berated him for 15 minutes, telling him "We don't take (expletive) from punks like you. What the (expletive) are you doing?"

When Spring began asking questions, he said the two cops threatened to handucff him twice. One slapped a ticket book on the hood of his car and issued a ticket to him for running a red light.

The ticket carries a fine and court costs of more than $200 and two points on his driver's license.

"The officer was not only making fun of my middle name, he was making fun of my street name and my hometown. He was just demeaning through the entire process," Spring said. 

Spring said the incident has discouraged him from returning to Cleveland to see full-time employment.

"This does not do well to market the city of Cleveland as a place for young professionals to start their careers," Spring said.

Spring complained to the Office of Professional Standards, the Mayor's office and to downtown Cleveland Councilman Joe Cimperman.

Safety Director Marty Flask said his complaint will be investigated and the findings will be turned over to the police civiilan review board.

The board will recommend to the police chief if the officers should be disciplined. 

Spring said he will not only fight his ticket in court, but he will do whatever he can to hold the two officers accountable.


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