CLEVELAND, OH – When East Cleveland police arrested Ward 7 councilman Basheer Jones on April 19, 2019 they sought to charge him with “improper handling of firearms in a motor vehicle.” The offense was a 4th degree felony violation of Section 2923. 16 of the Ohio Revised Code. The incident report East Cleveland’s cops generated doesn’t identify the reason for the arrest or the basis for the search of the Cleveland politician’s vehicle. Jones was a suspect of something and they found the improperly handled gun.
Had Jones investigated the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy credentials of the cops who stopped him and searched his vehicle he would have learned they were law enforcement officer impersonators. A further investigation would have revealed neither of the private attorneys discharging the duties of a prosecuting attorney were administered oaths of office; and had no legal authority to represent the city or “state” against him in any court.
Pursuant to Section 2938. 13 of the Ohio Revised Code Jones and every other criminal defendant has the right to ask Judge William Dawson not to advance any prosecution brought forth by admittedly private attorneys Willa Hemmons or Heather McCullough. Each is discharging the duties of public offices they have usurped without oaths of office filed with the clerk of council pursuant to Section 705.28 of Ohio’s revised code.
Had he learned anything about the duties of a councilman while representing Cleveland’s Ward 7 Jones could have used what should have been a competent knowledge of laws to challenge his arrest and the charges against him. The statute that disqualifies Hemmons and McCullough as private attorneys operating in East Cleveland municipal court is clear.
“In any case prosecuted for violation of a municipal ordinance the village solicitor or city director of law, and for a statute, he or the prosecuting attorney, shall present the case for the municipal corporation and the state respectively, but either may delegate the responsibility to some other attorney in a proper case, or, if the defendant be unrepresented by counsel may with leave of court, withdraw from the case. But the magistrate or judge shall not permit prosecution of any criminal case by private attorney employed or retained by a complaining witness.”
Within 48 hours after his probable cause-less arrest the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America required King to ensure that qualified and oath sworn prosecutors to have police deliver Jones before East Cleveland Municipal Court Judge William Dawson for an arraignment and a bond hearing. It is before an oath sworn Judge Dawson that oath sworn prosecutors could have expressed their disagreement with the requested charges against Jones and sought a dismissal to be entered into the record. Dawson would have had the option of dismissing the charges against Jones with or without prejudice. Jones would have had the right to ask that charges be brought against the police for the unlawful acts they committed against him.
Between the police and the prosecutor’s office under Richmond Heights resident Mayor Brandon King’s control the case against Jones simply disappeared although not really. The record of Jones’ April 19, 2019 arrest appears to have still been entered in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) criminal records history database Ohio police can access through the Law Enforcement Automated Data Systems (LEADS) portal. That’s where Lake County Sheriff’s deputies found Jones arrest records when they denied his request for a concealed carry permit on December 26, 2019.
But Dawson wrote to EJBNEWS that Jones was not brought before him. He, too, looked into the arrest to learn what had happened.
“There is nothing in our court system which leads me to assume that it never resulted in a former charge by the prosecutors office,” Dawson wrote. “I am saying he was never arraigned before me for those charges.”
EJBNEWS sought to learn if East Cleveland police had bypassed the city prosecutor and delivered Jones to Cuyahoga County prosecuting attorney Michael O’Malley for a direct indictment. Like the East Cleveland municipal court the county court of common pleas has no record of Jones’ arrest turning into an arraignment with formal charges. Between the two courts with the authority to have arraigned Jones his criminal records history is clean.
Jones just relocated to Cleveland from Cleveland Heights in December 2020 and his April 2019 East Cleveland gun arrest was introduced to the public by EJBNEWS for inclusion in the discussion about his campaign for mayor of Cleveland and whether or not he’s competent enough to discharge the duties of a municipal chief law enforcement officer. Why Jones was not arraigned has become a local political mystery.
The Cleveland politician’s Sixth Amendment or “speedy trial” rights and opportunity to face his accusers have long ago been violated by East Cleveland officials who obstructed the statutory and constitutional process for adjudicating criminal charges. So on its face the arrest should be dismissed through East Cleveland’s municipal court records so the information on the FBI’s NCIC database can be updated to reflect that some adjudication occurred.
Without an order from Judge Dawson the April 19, 2019 arrest record remains associated with Jones’ name on the FBI’s NCIC criminal records history database and will continue to affect his rights as a citizen of the United States of America. Had Judge Dawson journalized a dismissal of the case or accepted dropped charges from the prosecuting attorney Jones’ conceal carry permit wouldn’t have been denied in December 8 months after his arrest.
What Jones would have been potentially left with was the misdemeanor offense of giving false information to the police and failing to update his drivers license. Jones and his family have not ever resided at 1383 E. 94th Street which is the address police recorded from his drivers license.
As a 2017 candidate for Cleveland city council Jones and his family lived at 1670 Belvoir Road in South Euclid. From South Euclid the Jones’ relocated to 3936 Orchard Avenue in Cleveland Heights while he continued to serve unlawfully on Cleveland city council and claiming 1383 E. 94th Street as his residential address. Jones purchased a home on E. 66th Street in Cleveland last March 2020. His family was relocated from Cleveland Heights to their Cleveland home in December 2020 after it was renovated.