Safety Director Flask: Warning letter NOT related to hate crimes investigations

Statement from Marty Flask, Director of Public Safety regarding a nuisance abatement letter sent to the owner of 9208 Detroit Avenue (Cocktails)

The letter received by the owner of Cocktails on Detroit Avenue is not related to recent alleged hate crimes that are currently being investigated by the Division of Police.  Rather, it is an early warning letter that the Department of Public Safety sends to property owners to help prevent a location from becoming a “nuisance property”, as identified in Chapter 630 of Cleveland’s codified ordinances. 224 such letters have already been sent to various property owners this year.

The timing of this letter was an unfortunate coincidence. If I had to do it over again, I would have handled this particular situation differently.  After reviewing this issue with Mayor Jackson, he has directed me to rescind the letter and instead set up a meeting with the District Commander and the property owner so that we can work together to address the issues raised by the calls for service to 9208 Detroit Avenue.  Cleveland Police responded to 9208 Detroit Avenue nine times between September 2, 2012 and September 1, 2013 for a variety of complaints, including fights, disturbances and robbery. 13 complaints were received during that time frame. None of these complaints were related to the alleged hate crimes that are currently being investigated.

Cleveland City Hall

About Daniel Williams

City of Cleveland, Ohio, Director of Media Relations

36 thoughts on “Safety Director Flask: Warning letter NOT related to hate crimes investigations

  1. “The timing of this letter was an unfortunate coincidence.”
    Yet the timing of this post is better than the CPD’s response time for the attacks that occurred at this location.

    See, this whole post, to me, reads “We’re not insensitive, really we are not. We’re just really, REALLY incompetent. Don’t be mad.”

  2. This is retaliation against a vocal gay businessman who has refused to “Shut UP” about how inadequate First District protection has been in his business’ West Side neighborhood after the culmination in two assaults on patrons where the attackers were yelling gay slurs. We all get it, that the City wants everyone to be quiet and “toe the line” so as to not jeopardize the Gay Games next year, but in all honesty, the City of Cleveland isn’t as safe as City Hall likes to say. It’s pretty clear to me that this letter was aimed to intimidating a vocal critic.

    NINE calls were responded to – How many were from issues that were actually related to the operation of the business, and how many were from patrons and staff who reported incidents that were neighborhood related because it wasn’t being adequately patrolled? What about the other 5 complaints you DIDN’T respond to?

    Just as a side note, are you actually aware (we doubt you care) that the owner of Cocktails, since purchasing the property has made $250,000 in building and property improvements – mainly at the request and direction of the City of Cleveland? Can you name ONE other business owner in the same neighborhood that has done or even attempted to do the same?

    This started out as a push to clean up the West Side. I guess it needs to be extended into City Hall. It’s disgusting the way you Marty Flask, and some of the people that you lead have treated gays in general when responding to complaints. Only did your attitude change when social media, and the news media started to shine a light on how poorly you were doing. This letter shows us that it’s all lip service as far as I’m concerned. There are good men and women who serve in CPD and CFD that do not deserve to be lead by a man as insensitive an incompetent as yourself.

    Do the citizens a favor – retire. For good.

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  5. Sorry, Mr. Flask, but I’m not buying into your “explanation” and neither is anyone else with an ounce of intelligence. The fact is, you and the city administration got caught with your pants down and are desperately trying to save face. Sorry, but it’s not going to work. Clean up your act and start doing the job you were entrusted with by the citizens of the City of Cleveland.

  6. how about if the idiotic police start doing their job for once and eliminate the criminals?

    quit harassing taxpayers you low life thugs with badges

    The only one that needs to be labeled as a “nuisance property” is city hall.

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  9. Equal Protection under the law is now optional? What is next – too many calls from African American bars? Too many people around Severance Hall? Those rowdy Cleveland Orchestra subscribers causing a traffic problem? Too many on the street at one time after a concert?

    The gay bar is the nuisance? Or is homophobia the nuisance. Pack up your desk – you are now the nuisance.

  10. Love the 1984 “Nuisance” property. You are a nuisance if you complain about an inadequate and incompetent police force… but a nuisance to the community. The tax payers might get mad that their money spent on their “police” force is going down the drain. Wow, thank God I don’t live in Cleveland.

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  12. Breathtaking homophobia! Not only will I not visit Cleveland; I’ll urge all associations and organizations I belong to not to hold any meetings, conferences or conventions in Cleveland.

  13. I am ashamed to be a Clevelander today.
    “The timing of this letter was an unfortunate coincidence.”
    I don’t think anyone believes this. At all.

    Cleveland is hosting the Gay Games next summer. This sends a great message to all.
    “Come to Cleveland. Get beat up for being gay. The city officials don’t care.”

  14. Pingback: Cleveland Public Safety Director Responds to Outrage Over Letter Threatening Gay Bar Owner | Safe Schools | Desert Cities

  15. ah, so if your patrons are attacked, then your business is a nuisance? makes zero sense. i wonder how many more badly timed, ill informed letters were sent by the city.

  16. City of Cleveland, it’s very simple. Reduce the crime near the bar and the calls will stop. Wouldn’t this be a win-win for both sides?

  17. Pingback: City of Cleveland Sends Letter Threatening Cocktails Lounge Gay Bar For Calling Too Much | Safe Schools | Desert Cities

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  19. Wow. Unfortunate that the Cleveland city hall has such a disregard for the safety of its citizens. How many more attacks will it take before they try to fix the root cause of these hate crimes, rather than tell them to “quit calling”? Absolutely disgusting. EVERYONE connected to that letter should be ashamed.

  20. Pingback: City of Cleveland Sends Warning Letter to Bar Despite Hate Calls | WERE-AM 1490

  21. Mr. Flask your job is to protect and not to decide how many times people should call when they have an emergency no matter how significant you think it is. We pay taxes and we demand you to do your job otherwise quit!! We are stressed up with crimes committed by such individuals and on top of that we have to think twice before calling the police because we dont know what is considered a real crime in your Police Department. Thank You.

  22. So what is the bar owner supposed to do according to this Flask? Ignore crime in the neighborhood, when it is outside his building? Keep a tally on the wall of how many calls he’s allowed before being charged? Develop a contingency plan to handle the situation himself? How? With vigilantes? This letter is so misguided and simply breathtakingly stupid, I cannot believe its author possesses a modicum of intelligence or integrity. Rather than focusing on cleaning up the crime, Flask is focusing on intimidating the people reporting the crime? So, in Cleveland, if everyone stops reporting crime, that means crime no longer exists? WOW! Whatever political party his imbecile belongs to does not deserve to be in power.

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  26. It’s good to read so many comments supportive of the victims in this situation. I am glad to know that Mayor Jackson and Director Flask have both realized that a big goof was made. I would also suggest getting the Councilman for that Ward, involved. It seems obvious to me that having a police car parked near the bar, would keep things from getting out of hand. These thugs need to be stopped before, not after, they attack someone. I’d like to see the police do more in the way of prevention, rather than in punishment, anyway.

  27. Police work would be so easy, if not for those pesky calls for help. What a batch of losers! A good force would plant a cop there every night until there was no problem to call about.

  28. It’s rather sad that you blame those the organization and the people being victimized by hate crimes for calling the police too many times??? What would you want them to do lay there and take it??? Rather than blame the victims why not come up with solutions to make the area safer for patrons, like more police patrols in the area. When did calling the police become unlawful when there is a legit reason for the call???

  29. This raises real spectres for the upcoming Gay Games next summer. I was recently at a European gay sports tournament in Budapest, Hungary; a tournament which was accepted and encouraged by the political officials in Budapest, only for them to then turn on the tournament and its organizers, claiming that the security of all involved would not be borne by the city of Budapest but rather that the bill had to be footed by the organizers and the tournament . As a result – of the oppressive atmosphere and constant concern that we would be attacked with no protection from the authorities – the entire time we were together for events it felt like a lock-down in some prison (sports events taking place outside of the main action ground had to even travel under armed escort!). I am myself from Ohio, and when I heard that Cleveland was being considered as the next Gay Games venue, I argued against it and tried to exert what influence I had to keep it away from the city. I now see I had reason to be right. I will, of course, be in attendance for the Games, but will be wary of travelling outside of well-defined areas for fear of being attacked myself. Things like this make me ashamed to call myself a former Ohioan.

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