Euclid, OH — Once again, the cops from what is now becoming one of the most infamous departments in the country are in the spotlight. This time, the Euclid police department is being sued for humiliating an innocent woman by assaulting her after she’d just gotten out of the shower, then dragging her from her apartment and refusing to let her put on clothes as they kidnapped her.
Tensions between police and citizens in Euclid, Ohio have come to a head recently after police killed an unarmed 23-year-old man over a marijuana roach and officers were seen on video pulverizing another man over a suspended license, and, as TFTP reported last in November, beating the hell out of an innocent man after mistaking his colostomy bag for a weapon. Now, as this case shows, even innocent women in towels are not off limits.
The victim, 46-year-old Shajuan Gray was taking a shower last march when she heard a knock at her door. She got out of the shower, and when she answered the door, Gray found Euclid police officer James Aoki standing there, yelling at her.
“He started shouting he was tired of me, got complaints about me and to turn down my music,” Gray said. “Which I did because at this point I’m flabbergasted. I’m shocked, like, what is this about?”
Gray says she tried to comply with the officer but then he just “barged” into her apartment with no warrant and began attacking her.
“As he’s slamming me and pushing me against the freezer and refrigerator, he’s twisting my arms up in an uncomfortable position,” she said. “I’m telling him then, ‘You’re hurting me. Why are you doing this to me? Please stop.’ ”
As News Channel 5 reports, in the lawsuit, Gray alleged she was only wearing a bath wrap at the time of the incident, and it fell off while Aoki assaulted her, exposing her chest. She claimed he would not allow her to get dressed before he took her to the police department.
Because Akoi wasn’t wearing a body camera, we don’t know exactly what happened inside the apartment. However, when another officer arrived, they were wearing one. That video showed Akoi dragging a distressed Gray down the stairs, wearing only a towel, begging the officer to allow her to put on clothes.
“So at this point, I’m screaming and yelling with all the mixed emotions going on, crying, just in disbelief that this was happening,” Gray said. “[I was] humiliated, embarrassed, disrespected, everything. Just ashamed.”
As Akoi continues to drag the woman to the car, she continues to beg. But her pleas were ignored.
“This is the point where I’m asking him and telling him, ‘Please let me get dressed.’ And I’m still saying, ‘You’re hurting me.’ Nothing. This man had nothing in his eyes,” she said. “It was just the worst day of my life.”
Gray filed a complaint with the notoriously violent department who then promptly ‘investigated’ and then cleared themselves, blaming Gray for her treatment.
“You continued to resist and the officer used the force necessary to take you into custody,” the findings said, in part. “It was unfortunate that your turbulent behavior caused you to have a wardrobe malfunction, although, according to video footage and in opposition to your statement, your top was up and your breasts were not exposed when you were escorted outside of the apartment complex in handcuffs.”
Despite the officer’s report, however, police did not have enough evidence to convict Gray and she was acquitted of the charges filed against which included resisting arrest, obstruction of official business and noise violation charges.
As News Channel 5 reports:
Her lawsuit, which alleges false arrest, malicious prosecution and excessive force, said Gray suffered and continues to suffer physical, emotional and psychological injuries, as well as economic losses.
The injuries suffered by Gray were “preventable” had Aoki “not engaged in unconstitutional conduct in violation of her fundamental rights,” the complaint said.
In addition, the lawsuit alleges the City of Euclid failed to “effectively” investigate the incident or discipline Aoki for “illegal behavior” and “false testimony.”
WEWS reviewed city records and found Aoki has been involved in 15 other incidents involving the use of force since 2016 — the eighth highest number of any officer within the police department.
Gray’s lawsuit was the sixth filed against the city for excessive force in the last two years.
Now, the taxpayers will be held accountable for the disturbing actions of this public servant.