Man dies after Cleveland Housing Court bailiff shot him during eviction

Update: A man shot Thursday by a Cleveland Housing Court bailiff during an eviction has died, officials confirmed. Officials have not released the man’s identity or the names of the bailiffs involved in the shooting.

The shooting happened about 11:30 a.m. at the Madison Park Apartment building on West 96th Street near Madison Avenue in the city’s Cudell neighborhood.

Cleveland police spokeswoman Sgt. Jennifer Ciaccia confirmed bailiffs shot the man. A statement released by the city said two bailiffs serving a court-ordered eviction knocked on the man’s door and got no response.

The bailiffs, along with a maintenance worker from the building, attempted to enter the man’s apartment to evict him. The man burst through the door and hit the maintenance employee and one of the bailiffs with a blunt object, believed to be a baseball bat, the statement says.

Man dies after Cleveland Housing Court bailiff shot him during the eviction

One of the bailiffs fired at least one shot that hit the man in the head. An ambulance took the man to MetroHealth, where he died.

Ciaccia said Cleveland police will investigate the shooting, as they do all uses-of-force in the city.

Cleveland Housing Court spokesman Chris Ball told cleveland.com/The Plain Dealer he was at the scene but has not returned additional calls.

A woman who lives inside the building, Lisa White-Lavender, said she saw housing court bailiffs outside the apartment for about two hours before they went inside. She said it sounded like the bailiffs were trying to open the door with what sounded like a power drill.

“It sounded like they were trying to take down the door,” White-Lavender said.

She said she did not hear gunfire, but saw medics bringing out a man with blood on his face.

White-Lavender said she did not know the man, but that he had been living there about six months after landlords initially tried getting him to leave the building.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Aug. 26 ended the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s moratorium on evictions, put in place to ward off a wave of evictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Madison Apartments owners posted an eviction notice on the man’s door less than a week later on Sept. 1, according to housing court records. The building’s owner, Amber Fair, filed for eviction in housing court on Sept. 8.

Owners said the man had failed to pay his $560-per-month rent since April.

A magistrate initially approved a final move-out date for Oct. 18, but Judge Mona Scott pushed the date back because the owners had not yet shown the building had passed a lead inspection.

Fair wrote in court records that the man refused to let inspectors into his apartment on Aug. 3, and again Aug. 31 during a welfare check by Cleveland police officers. The owner’s attorney asked for $5,000 in damages caused by the delay, but that was never ruled on.

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