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Crime Cleveland police officer made ‘unlawful’ traffic stop, threatened man who wanted to file complaint against him, court documents say

16:25  12 february  2020
16:25  12 february  2020 Source:   cleveland.com

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CLEVELAND , Ohio — A Cleveland police officer is accused of making traffic stops against a man while off-duty and later threatening the man as he tried to file a formal complaint against the officer . William Tell, a 49-year-old traffic officer , is charged with abduction, menacing by stalking

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CLEVELAND, Ohio — A Cleveland police officer is accused of making an “unlawful” traffic stop against a man while off-duty and later threatening the man as he tried to file a formal complaint.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Cleveland police officer William Tell Jr. sits in a courtroom in 2015.© Joshua Gunter, cleveland.com/cleveland.com/TNS Cleveland police officer William Tell Jr. sits in a courtroom in 2015.

William Tell, a 49-year-old traffic officer, is charged with abduction, menacing by stalking, abduction, bribery and unauthorized use of property, all felonies. He is also charged with misdemeanor falsification and intimidating a crime victim.

Tell is scheduled to appear at a Feb. 26 arraignment hearing in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court. Cleveland police suspended him Tuesday without pay after a grand jury handed up the indictment. He was hired as a police officer in 1999.

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Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association President Jeff Follmer did not return a message seeking comment.

The indictment said that Tell used the law enforcement database known as LEADS between September 2018 and July 2019 to look up information about an ex-girlfriend, including to see if she had outstanding warrants and whether her driver’s license was suspended.

Officers are only allowed to use the database for law-enforcement purposes.

Tell was working an off-duty security shift at a bar July 28 in downtown Cleveland when he spotted the ex-girlfriend with another man, according to prosecutors. Tell threatened to conduct traffic stops against the man “any chance I get,” the indictment says.

Tell conducted an unlawful traffic stop on the man about 10 hours later in his police cruiser while off duty, prosecutors said. He was in full uniform and armed at the time. Cleveland police spokeswoman Sgt. Jennifer Ciaccia said she could not say how Tell got access to a police cruiser while off duty.

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But the officer probably won't remember much about what happened and doesn't want to be tripped up by fabricating a detail, so will probably depart very little from those notes. If you can obtain those notes before your traffic court trial, you may be able to glean the officer 's strategy for convicting you.

Tell shouted profanities at the man during the traffic stop and continued to threaten him, according to the indictment.

Tell walked up to the man three days later as the man tried to file a formal civilian complaint with the Office of Professional Standards, according to the indictment. That agency’s office is across the street from Cleveland Police Headquarters in downtown Cleveland.

Tell “invaded [the man’s] personal space,” and tried to intimidate the man so he wouldn’t file the complaint, the indictment says.

When that didn’t work, Tell tried to bribe the man against filing the complaint by giving him CPPA “courtesy cards," cards that show other police officers you’re a friend or family of a police officer, prosecutors said.

Tell lied in his official report that said he went to the OPS office to get blank complaint forms patrol officers are required to carry, the indictment says.

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When someone files a police complaint against a police officer an incident report is placed in the officer ’s record, so as to hopefully Rudeness Excessive force Soliciting or accepting bribes Drinking on duty Harassment Making a false report (good for alleging in the case of traffic tickets) Use of

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The man eventually managed to file his complaint. The Office of Professional Standards, after reviewing the case, sent it to Cleveland police’s Internal Affairs, which conducted the criminal investigation, Ciaccia said.

Tell has a history of on- and off-duty conduct that previously landed him in trouble.

Tell was suspended for 25 days without pay in April in connection with a different traffic stop of a woman in downtown Cleveland. In that case, he pulled over a woman he knew not because she violated any laws, but because he knew her and wanted to talk to her, according to his letter of discipline.

He told the woman he was going to arrest her and impound her car because she had warrants out for her arrest, according to the letter. The woman got upset and Tell reversed course and said: “just kidding,” the letter says.

He also lied about the traffic stop and was not wearing his body camera at the time.

Tell was arrested in 2015 on a domestic violence charge in which he was accused of choking a woman. Those charges were dismissed five months later.

Tell in 2006 was accused in a federal lawsuit of punching a man in the head after Tell mistakenly thought the man was taking his picture. Tell argued that the man refused to give him identification and shoved him. The city settled with the man for $52,000.

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To comment on this story, visit Tuesday’s crime and courts comments page.

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