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CMHA police release video of officer fatally shooting man; Cleveland police investigating

 Cleveland Police Chief Wayne Drummond speaks at a news conference announcing the Division of Police's mid-year report.
Nick Castele
/
Ideastream Public Media
Cleveland Police Chief Wayne Drummond speaks at a news conference announcing the Division of Police's mid-year report.

Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority police released body camera video Wednesday from the officer who fatally shot a man in the early hours of Labor Day morning.

The public housing agency made the video public shortly after Cleveland Safety Director Karrie Howard and Police Chief Wayne Drummond provided a brief update on the shooting. Cleveland police – a separate agency from CMHA police – are investigating the shooting, Howard and Drummond said.

CMHA identified the officer as Desmond Ragland, who has worked for the police department for about six months. Ragland is on paid administrative leave while the investigation proceeds, a CMHA spokeswoman said.

According to the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner, 32-year-old Maalik Roquemore was pronounced dead Monday at Fairview Hospital after being transported from W. 174th Street. The medical examiner’s office noted that the death was reported as “suspected homicide (police-involved).”

Around 12:30 Monday morning, Ragland responded to a loud noise complaint near the 4500 block of W. 174th Street, according to Drummond. The address is near the Riverside Park CMHA apartments in the West Park neighborhood, not far from Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport.

In the video, Ragland is heard in his car saying that someone is trying to flag him down. Ragland pulls forward, puts the car in park and shuts off the ignition. As he emerges from the car, Roquemore approaches him quickly and throws a punch.

Ragland appears to fire his Taser, but that does not stop Roquemore, who continues hitting the officer.

The video shows Ragland backing away from his car. Roquemore pursues him as the officer repeatedly says, “Get away from me.”

As Roquemore draws near, Ragland fires his gun. The man continues to advance and reaches toward the officer, who fires a second time. Roquemore falls to the ground but remains conscious. Ragland yells at him to remain on the ground and radios for EMS.

“Sir, what’s going on?” Ragland says. “Sir? Do you mind if I render assistance to you?” Ragland repeatedly asks, “Are you going to hurt me?” then adds, “I want to render aid to you.”

Over the next six minutes, Ragland handcuffs Roquemore on the ground, fetches a first aid kit from his car and searches for the bullet wound to apply pressure to the bleeding.

Ragland introduces himself as Desmond, and Roquemore says his name is Maalik. Blood soaks through his white T-shirt, and he tells Ragland to hurry up.

About five minutes after Ragland calls for EMS, other responders arrive at the scene.

“I’m not sure how many times I got him,” he tells someone off camera. “He was mental, he came at me when I got out of the car,” he adds shortly after.

After the officer unlocks the handcuffs, EMTs load him onto a gurney.

“I believe I hit him one time,” Ragland says just before the video ends.

Drummond and Howard promised more updates as Cleveland’s investigation unfolds.

CMHA Police are just one of the law enforcement agencies that operate within the city. In June, police fatally shot a man who appeared to take an officer's gun during a struggle inside an apartment. In November 2020, a CMHA officer fatally shot 19-year-old Arthur Keith at the King Kennedy public housing complex. A grand jury declined to bring charges.

Updated: September 7, 2022 at 4:37 PM EDT
This story has been updated to include the full name of the officer involved in the shooting.
Nick Castele is a senior reporter covering politics and government for Ideastream Public Media.