Exclusive: Police shooting victim speaks out

CLEVELAND -- Nearly eight months after being shot in the chest by a Cleveland police officer during a traffic stop, Greg Love still questions how the situation escalated to the point of gunfire.

Love says he was taking the scenic route home on a date last summer when he made a wrong turn at West 6th Street and St. Clair Avenue in the Warehouse District.

He then came face-to-face with Cleveland police officer Vincent Montague, a five-year veteran with the force.

"I asked him could I get through (the intersection)," Love explained. "He (the officer) didn't say anything at all, no hand gestures, no nothing, he just stood there and didn't say anything with an angry look, a mean look on his face."

With a lot of pedestrians and traffic moving through the busy intersection, Love says he tried to reverse his truck but got stuck.

Moments later, he claims Montague approached his vehicle again, this time with his gun drawn.

"I stop and I look and I just see him draw his firearm and I just threw my arms up immediately," said Love.

"My windows were down in my truck so he walks over to the truck and he reaches in the inside and he's trying to turn off my vehicle," Love continued. "I have my hands up and I'm leaning back as he's inside of my vehicle reaching with a gun."

Love says the keys to his truck were near the middle console, however when Montague could not immediately find them, things went too far.

"I indicated to him my keys are not there…he steps back and he fires," Love recalled. "It was unbelievable…I've never been shot, never been a situation to get shot, and it was just like,' oh my God.'"

As more officers arrived on the scene, Love says he was pulled from his truck and handcuffed for several minutes before receiving any medical treatment.

"They just got me standing there like a freak show I'm bleeding blood out of my chest," remembered Love. "The pain that I was feeling was unbearable…I didn't know if I was going to die."

City surveillance cameras captured the shooting and the events that transpired afterward. However, Love and his attorney are hoping witnesses with cell phone video of the incident will come forward.

After months of physical and emotional healing, Love hired attorney Nicholas DiCello, of Spangenberg Shibley & Liber LLP, who filed a federal lawsuit Feb. 13 in U.S. District Court.

The case has been assigned to Judge Solomon Oliver Jr.

"Most officers do a wonderful job but there is a concerning trend of incidents in this city that I think the community is no longer willing to tolerate," explained DiCello. "While it (the case) involves Greg, it really is a community safety issue."

We repeatedly tried to reach the Cleveland Police Department via phone and email for comment on this story.

A spokesperson for the City of Cleveland says, "given the pending lawsuit in this matter, the City declines to comment at this time."


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