Watch above for a Feb. 14 report on demands made by Cleveland’s defense attorney
COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A 66-year-old man whose attorney claims Columbus police shot and paralyzed him will be directly indicted on illegal weapons charges as he recovers in the hospital.
The Columbus Division of Police announced on Thursday it will seek a direct indictment against Michael Cleveland — who was shot on Feb. 5 following a traffic stop and foot chase — so he can continue to receive medical care and forego police custody and initial court appearances.
“This will also allow Mr. Cleveland the ability to heal from this traumatic event while in the company of his children and grandchildren, which is vital to his recovery,” Cleveland’s defense attorney Sean Walton said in a statement.
On the day of the shooting, Cleveland was pulled over on the city’s south side by Officer Joshua Ohlinger, a five-year veteran of the division. According to body camera footage, Cleveland exited the vehicle and began running away from Ohlinger, who followed Cleveland on foot.
After first grabbing his Taser, Ohlinger unholstered his gun and shot at Cleveland multiple times. Body camera footage shows Cleveland throwing something out of a pocket on his right side, which police said was a gun.
In a letter to Mayor Andrew Ginther demanding police reform, Walton said Cleveland was shot three times, including once in the spinal cord, “so at this point, he has no movement below his waist and is likely paralyzed.”
“His life has been forever changed and this community has once again been traumatized by Ohlinger’s reckless and unjustifiable use of deadly force,” Walton said.
It remains unclear why Cleveland was pulled over. Chief Elaine Bryant said Cleveland was not wanted on any warrants, though his driver’s license was suspended. Following the shooting, Cleveland was charged with having weapons while under disability, according to Franklin County Municipal Court records.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is investigating the shooting.