Cleveland, OH – A female police officer was attacked from behind in a Taco Bell parking lot, while loading things into the back seat of her personal vehicle, on Thursday night in Cleveland.
The attackers stole her police department-issued weapon, and hit the officer so hard she was left nearly unconscious.
Police Chief Calvin D. Williams didn’t hold back at a press conference on Friday.
“We had a horrific thing happen last night. One of our female officers… was attacked by two cowards. And her weapon was taken. And that can’t happen in this city,” Chief Williams said.
Cleveland Police Officer Maye was attacked on Thursday night at 10:50 pm, after she got off work from her off-duty detail at a Taco Bell in the Lee-Miles neighborhood, police said.
Officer Maye, 47, was wearing her Cleveland Police Department-issued uniform when the attack occurred, according to the police report. She is a 16-year veteran of the department.
The police report said a man, or teenager, in gray jogging pants and a black hoodie, walked up to her as she stood alongside the car, demanded her police weapon, and attacked her.
The man pulled at her holster, and the officer struggled with him, the report said.
Her assailant pushed Officer Maye down onto the backseat, and continued grabbing for the gun.
Officer Maye put two hands on her weapon in an attempt to keep it away from her attacker, the report said.
Then Officer Maye heard another person run up to them during the struggle, the report said.
The second man beat Officer Maye in the face, "almost causing her to lose consciousness.”
The first man was able to unholster the gun, and took off with it. Both men were last seen running west on Westview Avenue, the report said.
“We’re not going to stop until these cowardly thugs – because it took two cowardly idiots to attack one female officer. TWO! A female officer,” Chief Williams said.
“So all these guys out there calling themselves bad, and ya know, how big and bad they are. It took two of them to attack an officer, from behind. It’s not going to stand, not in this city.”
“The officer’s doing okay right now. Of course, she’s a little banged up and really upset about this incident, but she’s doing okay and she’s going to recover,” he said.
“The key here is there are people out there who know what happened. And again, these two cowards probably aren’t going to turn themselves in. They’re young, African-American males. And so there’s an aunt, a mother, a father, a brother, a cousin, or somebody that knows that they did this. So they need to bring them in. Because we’re not going to rest,” Chief Williams said.
The Cleveland Clergy Coalition participated in the press conference, and urged the community to help the police identify the suspects.
“We are appalled at the most recently act of violence in our community that led to the assault of an off duty police officer. As clergy and community leaders, we stand together saying enough is enough. This specific act of violence will not be tolerated. It must be addressed, not only by the police department, but by our entire community,” said Pastor Raymond Prince, of Assembly Baptist Church.
“Anyone who attacks a uniformed police officer will attack anyone. It’s very dangerous. Anyone who will attack a female is a coward, and will prey on anyone, and is very dangerous to all of us,” Prince said.
He also expressed concern that this sort of crime could cause businesses to begin leaving their community.
“We stand with the police chief, the police officers – but yet, we have a couple people in our environment who needs to go to jail. We’re asking those who are involved to turn yourselves in," Prince said.
He said that if the person didn’t feel safe turning themselves in at the police department, a member of the clergy would be happy to escort them in.
“Someone out there knows what happened. It’s time to speak up and to stand up, get these people off the street. We need your help in doing it,” Prince said.
The police chief was adamant that his department will find Officer Maye’s assailants, and implied the suspects would be better off turning themselves in before they're found.
“They need to turn themselves in, and give us that weapon back. Because the men and women that you see here behind us, from the Cleveland Division of Police, aren’t going to stop. And this is just a small sample of what‘s coming after them,” Chief Williams said, gesturing to the group of police officers behind him at the podium.
Police searched the area extensively after Officer Maye was attacked, and an Ohio State Police helicopter aided in the search, but they did not find her attackers, according to Cleveland.com.
Officer Maye was transported to MetroHealth, bleeding from the mouth. She was treated and released, police said.
A Taco Bell employee later told police that he had previously seen both robbers inside the restaurant.
Police are investigating but have not released any additional information on the suspects at this point.