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Investigator Exclusive: Victim claims police allowed her to be terrorized twice

7:15 AM, Apr 2, 2010   |    comments
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The victim, who asked not to be identified, said her boyfriend forcibly wrapped duct tape around her head, making it nearly impossible to breathe.

She says she almost choked to death on her bridgework, which he knocked loose. She told police she was held captive in her own apartment overnight.

"I thought I was going to die," she told The Investigator Tom Meyer.

She was allowed to leave the apartment the next morning to get coffee on the condition she not go to the police department next door and report the incident.

"If I talked to anyone about this, he said he would kill me," she said.

She flagged down a police officer on Chagrin Boulevard and told him what had happened anyway.

The boyfriend was arrested on kidnapping and domestic violence charges and taken to jail.

The court issued a temporary protection order which the boyfriend signed and which was delivered to Woodmere police and others involved in the case.

Two weeks after the defendant signed the order, Woodmere police gave the boyfriend's family member a key to the  apartment.

"They never called me, told me, or warned me," the victim said of police.

The victim learned police handed over the keys when she entered her apartment and found it ransacked and many of her personal possessions gone.

The victim's lawyer, Mike Dolan, said, "At a minimum, police should have accompanied the family there to the apartment. They should have made sure the victim wasn't there and that the victim had prior notice. It's absolutely shocking to have a victim of crime victimized again and have the police department faciliate that victimization."

The family member gained entrance to the apartment even though the protective order states"the defendant may pick up clothing and personal items from the residence only in the company of a uniformed law enforcement officer."

Woodmere Police Chief Terence Calloway appeared stunned when Meyer confronted him with the news.

When asked if a police officer should have accompanied the family member to the apartment of a domestic violence victim, the chief said, "Absolutely, and we'll be looking into that."

The victim's attorney is demanding an investigation by both the Mayor of Woodmere and by the police chief. The chief promised an internal investigation would be launched immediately.

The victim packed up and moved out immediately.

"I've been threatened, almost strangled to death, and they still have the keys," she said.

WKYC-TV

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