Jury finds city discriminated against white police officer

7:30 PM, Jan 26, 2007   |    comments
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Patrolman Edward Lentz, Jr., claimed he was made a scapegoat to appease the city's black community, following a police shooting. The jury agreed and awarded him $800,000. The case stems from a shooting more than five years ago. Lentz was guarding then Mayor-elect Jane Campbell's house. He shot and wounded a 12-year-old African American boy, saying, the boy tried to run him down. The jury found that evidence showed the city intentionally discriminated against Lentz based on race. And that the discrimination was a result of city policy. The jury also found the city unlawfully retaliated against the officer for protesting. And that the officer deserved monetary damages. In a case where the incident took a few seconds -- the fallout has lasted years. Now a bombshell verdict, a policeman convinced a federal jury that politics and race took control of the normal procedure to investigate a controversial shooting. And not just any policeman, but an officer with a proud family history in police work. A bizarre incident led to this bizarre case about race Lentz claims he feared for his life and wound up on top of a vehicle driven by 12-year-old Lorenzo Locklear, firing 14 shots -- three into Locklear. During a drawn out investigation, Lentz claims he was kept off the street, lost overtime, got degrading jobs. Lentz previously beat criminal charges of felonious assault and lying about what happened. He then challenged the city for releasing a psychologists recommendation that the city not hire him because of a bad temper and emotional issues. He comes from a proud police family, his brother a Cleveland policeman, his father a lieutenant with 41 years on the force, his grandfather killed in the line of duty and his uncles Cleveland Heights Police Chief. Lentz's treatment happened on former Mayor Jane Campbell and Police Chief Ed Lohn's watch. The city claims jurors got it wrong. Other deadly shooting investigations came first. The city faces another discrimination lawsuit from two detectives who shot Brandon McCloud and claim the also got different treatment from black officers shooting black suspects. We tried but could not reach Lentz, former Mayor Jane Campbell or former Police Union boss Bob Beck who had roles in how this played out. Lentz's father did tell us this was never about money, it was about his honor. Lentz is back on the street in the 3rd District.

WKYC-TV

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