Updated 4:41 p.m. Sept. 13, 2019
The City of Cleveland on Friday released the full video of Mayor Frank Jackson's interview with Cleveland.com in response to a records request from the news outlet. The city also released a full version of a preamble Jackson recorded to introduce the interview. Both videos have been combined below:
Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson Thursday released a video of an interview in which he insists he has never interfered with either police or city prosecutors investigating a series of incidents involving his grandson.
Frank Q. Jackson, the mayor’s 22-year-old grandson, was indicted last week by a Cuyahoga County grand jury on charges of felonious assault and other charges related to an attack in June on a young woman. County prosecutors took the case to the grand jury after news reports that a city prosecutor had reviewed the case file and decided not to pursue charges.
This week, County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley said that the younger Jackson is also a suspect in a homicide that took place last month. Police towed a truck from the mayor’s home as part of that investigation.
In recent days, members of City Council have raised questions about the appearance of having serious charges against a member of the mayor’s family handled by city agencies that report to him.
Then this morning, Jackson’s press office released a video in which he answers questions from an unseen interviewer. A graphic in the video says the interview in the mayor’s office took place Wednesday.
“I don’t interfere, if that’s the question,” Jackson said. “I don’t interfere in the investigation. I don’t interfere in determining whether or not someone is charged or not. I don’t interfere. And I have not interfered. And will not interfere.”
According to Cleveland.com, the clips in the video came from a Wednesday interview between its City Hall reporter Robert Higgs and the mayor. Asked whether the city accurately represented the interview, Cleveland.com Editor and President Chris Quinn replied, "We're going to leave it at what we have reported."
Multiple media outlets reported Jackson told Cleveland police officers to turn off their body cameras when they arrived at his home to question his grandson.
"Never told anybody to turn off the camera...the officers should handle the case according to what is proper protocol in their investigation as they do in any case," Jackson said. "I had no need to give instruction because they handled the case according to what is proper as an investigatory process."
Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority officers do not have dash or body cameras for officers. The city did not respond to a direct request for comment regarding the use of body cameras in the arrests for Cleveland Police.
Cleveland.com's Higgs was not shown in the video or identified in the release from the city. Questions are superimposed on the screen. In a brief introduction, the mayor speaking directly to a camera merely says that, “I just did an interview with a media person.”
“You can choose to believe the media or believe me,” the mayor says before the video cuts to the interview. “This is your choice.”