Police investigate after officer strikes handcuffed woman

CLEVELAND (AP) — Police are investigating an altercation involving a detective who struck a handcuffed woman in the face after she spat at officers, a city spokesman said Tuesday.

The arrest of Ciara Perez-Rodriguez on Aug. 11 was recorded on a cellphone. A video shows her standing handcuffed behind a police cruiser, spitting at a plainclothes detective and then being hit in the face by another detective and falling to the ground.

A complaint filed in Cleveland Municipal Court by Detective David Shapiro says Perez-Rodriguez initially was arrested after throwing a soda can at officers after several people were arrested during a police sweep in a west side neighborhood. According to the complaint, Perez-Rodriguez spat on Shapiro and another officer while being led to a cruiser, kicked Shapiro while being handcuffed and kicked another officer while being placed in the backseat of a cruiser.

The complaint does not mention Perez-Rodriguez being struck but does say she received a bruised arm after being grabbed by the officer who put her in the backseat.

Perez-Rodriguez, who’s 21, was charged with felony assault on a police officer and is free on bond. It’s unclear whether she has an attorney representing her. There’s no publicly listed telephone number for her at an address listed in court records.

The city wouldn’t provide a copy of the police report about Perez-Rodriguez’s arrest and wouldn’t say whether the officers were wearing body cameras and recorded the altercation. All 1,500 Cleveland police officers, including the chief, were issued body cameras last year.

Cleveland’s police department is operating under a federal court-monitored consent decree after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice found that its officers had shown a pattern of using excessive force and violating people’s civil rights.


This story has been corrected to show the Cleveland spokesman commented Tuesday, not Wednesday.

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