CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio (WJW) — Demetrius Kern says he is still processing what happened to him on Sept. 22, 2022.
“They violated my civil rights. They used the color code of the law against me,” said Kern.
On his way to class that evening, the 37-year-old Kern says he was almost run off the road by a Cleveland Heights police officer who was pursuing another car ahead of him.
Kern decided to approach the officer during her traffic stop and wanted one question answered.
“You almost ran me off the road, I’d like your badge number,” shared Kern.
Kern says the officer apologized to him, but wouldn’t give her badge number.
“I didn’t have time to fool around with her on the side of the road. Just give me what I requested, what I thought was their policy. When the public asks you for your identification, that you provide it,” explained Kern.
Kern believes the situation escalates when the officer asks for his ID in return. Knowing that he did not commit a crime and didn’t have his ID on him at the time, Kern refused
Eventually, the officer calls for backup. It is the responding Sergeant who places Kern in handcuffs and charges him with a ticket for obstructing a crime scene.
Kern called the entire situation unnecessary and unnerving.
“He says ‘stop resisting.’ In my head, I’m thinking ‘they are about to kill me on the side of the road.’ Cause anytime you hear ‘stop resisting,’ it leads to something else, and I didn’t know where it was going,” shared Kern.
A few hours after the incident, Kern went to Cleveland Heights City Hall and filed a complaint.
That led to an internal investigation by police and eventually, the sergeant involved was ordered to attend a de-escalation training session.
As for Kern, the charge of obstructing official business was dropped in court. He wasn’t surprised by that outcome in the least.
“You have to break the law to provide identification. I was told I didn’t break anything. I didn’t break any ordinances, any policies, any law,” said Kern.
Kern wants people to know that he doesn’t hold this situation against Cleveland Heights police as a unit.
He hopes this is a learning opportunity for the officers involved and continues to hold law enforcement in high regard.
“Being a public official or an officer is one of the most honorable jobs you can have because when the citizens give them their worst, they still have to give their best. At least the good ones,” Kern said.
To watch the body camera footage in its entirety, click here.
For more information on how Cleveland Height’s Mayor has responded to this incident, click here. Find more information about Kern’s GoFundMe right here.