Michael Cleveland, 66, was shot at least once by a Columbus police officer during a traffic stop on Sunday.
COLUMBUS, Ohio – People in Columbus are asking for answers from police about a man who was shot and killed over the weekend while fleeing from police during a traffic stop.
Michael ClevelandA 66-year-old man was shot at least once Sunday afternoon in the 1000 block of Wilson Avenue.
In an interview minutes after the shooting, Beverly Coleman told 10TV that she got a call that Cleveland, who is the father of her children, had been shot.
“I was nervous, I was in shock and still am in shock. I can’t believe it,” Coleman said Sunday night.
Coleman asked what led to the shots and why police felt it was necessary to use force against Cleveland.
“He’s a good man, he doesn’t get in anybody’s way, he’s a really good man,” Coleman said.
Video released by police on Monday shows two officers following a black Dodge truck. Officers recognized Cleveland seconds after he drove by. Officers continued to follow Cleveland until he parked behind a building, got out and fled.
A body camera shows people marching in the background of where Cleveland ran. As Cleveland walked between the two buildings, Officer Joshua Olinger, a five-year veteran, fired six shots.
Pastor Frederick Lamar and members of his church held the monthly “Stop the Violence” event in which about 70 people marched down Wilson Avenue.
“I’m still hurt,” Lamar said. “We’re marching there, so if you shoot Mike and if you miss him, I’ve got kids, I’ve got old people.”
Days after the shooting, Lamar is worried that the video will cause even more outrage in the community.
“After I saw it, it just hurt me [the footage]. It pains me that where we’ve tried to come up with a solution in terms of ending the violence, there’s a disconnect somewhere where we’re not all working together,” LaMarre said.
Lamar said he questioned why police were following Cleveland at all.
“When I was watching, I didn’t like that he did no, he didn’t run a stop sign, he didn’t do anything other than breaking the law, other than maybe being targeted,” Lamar said.
When asked why police tried to stop Cleveland during a news conference Monday, Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant said the BCI will receive the officer’s statements and make that determination.
Meanwhile, Pastor Lamar hopes that Cleveland, a member of his community, will be given a second chance despite his long run-ins with the police.
“I’ve known Mike for 25 years, and like all of us, none of us are the best citizens, but Mike is respectful, caring, loving. That’s all I knew he was like,” Lamar said.
The shooting is being investigated by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.