City of Cleveland Heights responds to NEOMG article

The Heights Observer received this news release from the City of Cleveland Heights on Dec. 17 in response to an article that appeared on Cleveland.com about a traffic stop in the city. We are publishing it here, in its entirety:

The City of Cleveland Heights released information today relating to Officer William Robinson's actions during a traffic stop involving Sam Taylor on Friday, December 12, 2014.

"Given the interest generated by an article which cites Mr. Taylor's account of the incident, the City felt it was important to share the facts involved to assure Cleveland Heights residents of the appropriateness of Officer Robinson's actions given the circumstances surrounding the traffic stop", said City Manager Tanisha Briley. "The incident was reviewed, including review of recorded radio and telephone traffic, and the evidence supports Officer Robinson's response".

Shortly after 7:30am on Friday, December 12, 2014, Officer Robinson attempted to stop Mr. Taylor for speeding after observing his speed at Clarkson and Coventry roads. Mr. Taylor continued to drive north on Coventry and then west on Edgehill, a distance of nearly one mile, while Officer Robinson followed him with lights and sirens activated. At 7:36am, Officer Robinson can be heard over the radio alerting the station of his pursuit in light of the driver's failure to stop. When Mr. Taylor finally stopped his vehicle, he immediately exited and came toward Officer Robinson in an agitated manner. Officer Robinson then exited his patrol car with his gun drawn and asked Mr. Taylor to show his hands which were not visible as he approached. Once Mr. Taylor complied and stopped his approach toward the Officer, Officer Robinson immediately holstered his gun. Officer Robinson had his gun in hand for no more than the seconds during the verbal exchange. Officer Robinson proceeded to check Mr. Taylor for weapons while Mr. Taylor explained his wife was having a medical emergency. Officer Robinson then called for an ambulance for Mr. Taylor's wife and asked Mr. Taylor to sit in his car. Officer Robinson's request for an ambulance can be heard over the radio at 7:38am, just two short minutes after his initial call to the station during the pursuit.   

At 7:40am, Officer Robinson is heard canceling the ambulance, which he did at the request of Mrs. Taylor. At the same time, Mr. Taylor placed a phone call to the station to express his concern about the traffic stop. The recording confirms that Mr. Taylor was advised by the Officer in Charge that he should have stopped and because he failed to do so he would receive a citation.

The entire incident from pursuit, to calling the ambulance, to Mr. Taylor calling the station, and the last officer clearing the scene lasted a total of 14 minutes. Mr. Taylor was given two citations, one for speeding and another for failing to yield.

"Officer Robinson's actions were appropriate considering the facts that Mr. Taylor did not pull over, continued to drive for almost a mile, exited his vehicle and came toward the officer during the traffic stop", said Chief Jeffery Robertson. "Within a span of two minutes, the officer was able to assess a situation which had quickly turned from pursuit of a driver failing to stop to a medical emergency and he responded correctly."

For an outline and audio files of the traffic stop please click here

For questions about the incident please contact Chief Jeffery Robertson at 216.291.4974.

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Volume 8, Issue 1, Posted 4:19 PM, 12.17.2014