Three Cleveland police officers attacked a fellow officer in a brawl at the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association union hall, according to court records.
Officers Michael Phelps, Wyatt Woodrell and John Ogle face charges of first-degree misdemeanor assault. Phelps is also charged with misdemeanor assault and aggravated menacing in connection with a separate incident. A judge issued warrants for their arrest.
The fight happened on Nov. 15 at the union hall on West 58th Street in the city’s Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood.
Cleveland police spokeswoman Sgt. Jennifer Ciaccia confirmed an investigation in November but refused to provide any details. She said more information could be released on Tuesday.
CPPA President Jeff Follmer said he’s unsure what sparked the brawl but that no one suffered serious injuries.
Phelps, Woodrell and Ogle are assigned to the department’s Fifth District, on the southeast side of the city, and the officer they’re accused of attacking, Erik Melendez, works in the Fourth District.
The fight started about 8:30 p.m. as Melendez held a party with his family, Follmer said. Phelps challenged Melendez to a fight and all four men went into the parking lot next to the union hall, according to court records.
Phelps, Woodrell and Ogle repeatedly punched and kicked Melendez in the head during the fight, court records say.
Follmer said that all four went their separate ways after the fight and did not want to pursue criminal charges or disciplinary proceedings. Someone made an anonymous call to the police department’s Internal Affairs unit, who launched an investigation, Follmer said.
All four men submitted to interviews with internal affairs investigations. Follmer said Melendez told city prosecutors he did not want to pursue criminal charges, Follmer said.
“It’s a shame that during a time of COVID-19 in the jail and it being Christmas time that the city prosecutor wanted to issue assault warrants to the officers,” Follmer said.
Phelps was charged in a second incident that happened about an hour after the fight. He fought with a woman at his home, grabbed the woman by the neck and slammed her against the wall, court records say. He threatened to kill her and ordered her to leave the home, according to court records. The relationship between Phelps and the woman is not addressed in court records.
Phelps, 29, was hired in 2015. Woodrell, 25, and Ogle, 29, were both hired in 2019.
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