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Driver plans to pursue legal action after viral encounter with Cleveland Heights police

Demetrius Kern was handcuffed and given a ticket by Cleveland Heights police, however, the prosecutor dropped the charges against Kern eleven days later.

CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio — Demetrius Kern told 3News on Monday that he's hired counsel to pursue legal action after an encounter with Cleveland Heights police in September.

The incident happened September 22, 2022 in Cleveland Heights. A police officer pulled over a vehicle and in the process, almost hit Kern's Tesla.

Body camera video from the incident was released and shows the officer telling a supervisor that they almost got into an accident.

Kern told 3News he pulled over to check his vehicle for damage and to get the officer's name and badge number.

The officer called for backup as she dealt with the traffic stop.

"I didn't approach her," said Kern. "I didn't approach her car."

The interaction escalated after the officer's supervisor arrived to the scene.

In the body camera video, the supervisor told Kern he would be arrested if he didn't identify himself. Kern says he didn't provide his ID because he wasn't involved in the traffic stop. However, Kern was placed in handcuffs by the supervisor.

The officer told the supervisor she was "cool" with letting him [Kern] leave. The supervisor was not though, and ordered the officer to write Kern a citation for obstruction.

Kern told 3News he's concerned with the department's policies and procedures.

"Are you going to do the right thing," said Kern. "Are you going to let your superior tell you to do his dirty work?"

Kern is concerned that the interaction escalated.

"When one knows the other one is wrong before the other one stands up and just say no," said Kern.

The mayor of Cleveland Heights issued a statement about the incident, however, Kern told 3News he doesn't believe the mayor's statement justifies the actions of the supervisor.

"He shouldn't have a badge," said Kern.

The supervisor was ordered to take de-escalation training at the directive of the police chief.

Eleven days after the incident, the prosecutor dropped the charges against Kern.

Kern has now hired an attorney to pursue legal action against Cleveland Heights. He's also started a fundraiser to raise money for the costs of his counsel. 

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