Submitted by ANGELnWard14 on Fri, 07/31/2009 - 00:52.

Last night, at approximately 915-930pm... while driving down Denison-there were approximately 30 people in WHITE TSHIRTS/JEANS surrounding a full blast fist fight with screaming and yelling going on in the front yard of the 2nd house on the north side of the street west of West 38th..sorry, the address was off the house....

It was beyond obvious that this was a bomb about to explode into war... GANG WAR RIOT was the first and only thing that came to mind... and while I had to think fast, consider that my child was in the car with me, and what my options were-I ended up calling 911 vs stopping to interrupt a highly violatile situation.


911.... "WHAT CITY?" -Cleveland (TRANSFER)

"Fire, ambulance, police?" -Police... (TRANSFER)

POLICE: "Above details shared..."


KUDOS TO 2nd DISTRICT on this one! 

By the time I made it to the next block, went around the block, and passed the house again-the police were screaming down Denison from W. 25th....That was a happy moment for me. I hope that their expeditious response time prevented someone from being hurt/killed.

ULTIMATELY... IT'S TIME FOR A CALL TO ACTION.... THERE'S AN UNDERGROUND GANG ISSUE GOING ON AMIDST US INCLUDING DRUGS, GUNS, AND MAJOR ISSUES... ONLY BLOCKS FROM DENISON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL... There's chronic drug dealing going on the corners. There's intimidation by the dealers and guys walking up to your car at the corner asking you what you need? (OH MY GOD!) So....community...how do we tackle this one? It's much bigger than me... I am used to arguing with the thugs in front of my house and having drive by assailants the same night trying to intimidate us...

So, how can we collectively engage this negative monster community and actively fight their destructive forces? (without getting ourselves/innocent bystanders  hurt?) 

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The Network

  Thank you for posting this Angel.  I think that the police know more than we know about the network operating on the near west side.   I want to believe that Commander Sulzer has a strategy, but how do our local politicians figure into making that strategy work?  By closing down the bars?

The kids around here are just pawns.  You know it and I know it.  Folks that run the bars like El Tropical etc.  are the real kingpins in this operation.  From residents in the area of last night's fight, I hear that the Escape Lounge is a problem.

On a personal note--I have seen many kids swallowed up by this network.  The fight took place in front of a home that I know.  The family from Liberia are taking their boys (and their daughter) and moving away from Ohio to Iowa.  Their boys have already experienced war and have been recruited before.  Our society needs to find a better outlet for our boys.  This happens everywhere.  Territories, gangs, fighting...it's part of our biology. We need to do better by our kids.


Gangs..kids...fighting...LEADERSHIP: this is a call for action

I was a kid in Cleveland once... watched the generational gaps of the 58th St. Stoners through their kids who became the 5-8 Posse back in the early 90's...and now their grandchildren are running the show... mostly whites there...

But as I was enlightened two days ago by a highly involved felon who knows some other stuff about the underground stuff... He noted the crypts, bloods, and other gangs here in Ward 14...wow. I was blown out of the water on that note... I guess that I had gotten a little away from the idea that these gangs were still running around here... and then there's the "216" kids with their tattoos.

I don't know the ins and outs of that stuff... but I do know this...by the time that I was old enough to "hang out" with any kids who were actively engaged in "bad" things... I was already predisposed to making the right choices and never really got into being a "thug"...moreover I was already trying to save my friends by offering help to keep them in school, taking in runaways, and talking to them like mother hen...while they laughed in my face..

In retrospect and as a parent...I can say this much...This is all about an attitude and training by the parents of these children. Parents have a responsibility beyond a roof over their kids heads, clothes on their backs, and food in their mouths.

When parents show their kids that these behaviors are acceptable...then we get thugs all over the place. I am tired of parents blaming the world for why their children act inappropriately and become criminals. As a parent, I find it quite frustrating to believe that parents are "SO CLUELESS"....

Anyway... The boys and girls club in Cleveland is pushing to have programs throughout the year in collaboration with schools to empower the kids and provide alternatives to the streets right in the neighborhoods of the schools. That's a wonderful start...

2nd...the busiest night of the school year is OPEN HOUSE without question. It's a proven statitistic...and one of the amazing opportunities for community resources to collaborate with the schools, offer roundtables to parents, and provide access and awareness to unknowing/transient families... and to promote positive relations.

I encourage every CDC and Organization to contact your local schools and be proactive in this mission.

We need those Guardian Angels walking up and down Denison Avenue in the early evenings when these issues start getting hot (6-9). We need trained folks interrupting and disrupting these gangs and offering quantitative alternatives. Can we rally leaders to start getting involved?  


Friday night on Denison...Good job to our men in blue...

I just want to thank the CPD 2nd District for really disrupting Denison Avenue thugs at all levels. We, the citizens, do value and appreciate your dedication to our neighborhood! Thanks for working to disrupt the negatives and pass this forward! 


Channel your appreciation

Angel, consider channeling your enthusiasm, appreciation by attending the monthly Second District Community Relations meetings.  You can join their organization and volunteer, actively serving the community.   I, too appreciate Commander Sultzer (apologies if misspelled) and his force.  Kate Dupuis


 In response to Kate Dupuis: I have attended the meetings...Angel has, too...I am sure. Am I at every meeting?  No.  Because we have many responsibilities in life--work and family--come to mind. 

Yes, it is a good group of people who meet with the police every second Tuesday of the month and I want to personally thank them for keeping those discussions positive and proactive.  But, the reality for most of us--we can't go to meetings...we need a community that works, street by street.

I agree

Laura, I agree.  For those of us who have worked in our neighborhoods over a period of time, it's usually just another meeting.  I attend occasionally, but prefer to get off my butt and take action.   The question is what action in respect to the kids?  I support early childhood education whatever the cost.  Jeffrey Canada, working in NYC has written several books on this issue and has a successful, albeit outrageously expensive program which seems to work.  He has set up a system controlling every aspect of the child's life including the parents.  Some of the kids live at the school.  Issues never simple which is why I appreciate all the input from you folks.  Kate Dupuis




Positive A to Z

  Thank you Kate :) I wanted to link here to the book suggestion made by Lee Batdorff at the Sustainable Cleveland post:

by James O'Toole; NetLibrary, Inc.
Language: English  
Publisher: San Francisco, Calif. : Jossey-Bass Publishers, ©1999.

Lee: Did you actually read the e-book???  Yikes.  I am going to have to read the article version somehow...

But wait...the Clevnet consortium saves the day...Hudson and Elyria have a print copy! Yeah Clevnet! Regionalism that works!!!!

Leadership A to Z a guide for the appropriately ambitious

 Thanks for the details on this useful book. I lied. I actually listened to it on my MP3 player.


Denison Avenue Friday Night

GANG WAR RIOT to me, would be ALL people involved fighting.  The reality was four fighting with about 10-15 watch ing and egging the participants to continue the fight.  I do not want  to minimize the fact that fighting is not the answer to anything, but I grow tired of embellishment of incidents to make things appear more than they are.

I have lived on Denison Avenue since 1984.  Believe me, this summer has been calm compared to others we have had.  When I read this post I inquired of some of my friends and neighbors who live on 39th and Denison close to where the fight took place.

The Cleveland Police are well aware of the perpatrators and with the help of these nighbors are working on getting the appropriate parties under control in the various ways that the police can and will.  Our Second police commander and his staff are stellar as Angel says.

Now, about the bars.  All of the fighters  and watchers were well under 21 and no bar was involved in the altercation.  This incident happened at the corner of 39th and Denison and moved to a house on 39th.    As for the bars, the smokers who congregate outside of each of them act as our watchers and have great insight into who, when, and where the drugs are being sold.

We intend to have a Crime Watch meeting inviting everyone along denison archwood, and 39th. Barb Spaan will coordinate just as she does each summer.  Usually, we do this WAY before August.

Another note, on the positive side, a group of us neighbors were meeting at a home on Denison Avenue  to plan a Saturday program for Middle School Students at Brooklyn Memorial United Methodist Church this fall Friday night.  What do we do to combat the negative things Angel asks about?  We replace the negative with positive which we in this neighborhood do constantly.  We do not ignore the problems of our urban neighborhood  but we prefer to think creatively and positively how to combat "the thugs". 


Denison Avenue Friday Night

 This reminds me of an incident last year at the playground across the street. There is lots of noise and yelling that is happening fast. A new to the area neighbor is pounding on my door yellling there is a gang fight at the playground, call the police. Of course I did. The police never came which is good. It turns out that this was a not physical altercation between two teen girls with lots and lots of other kids egging them on. The parents of both arrived and it was promptly ended, but it lead to a safety "summit" being planned and lots of anxiety for people until we knew what really happened. 

I agree that the more positive events that take place in an area like you speak of, and in the playground near me, the less problems will happen. 

Events for kids, hopefully with some parents are always nice. You don't have to be out to address a problem, just have some fun for a couple of hours.

Last summer

Last summer, a similar fistcuff fight erupted on my street among "kids."  It immediately turned ugly when one of the boys brandished a gun--consequently, one of our "good" families on the street moved out (small children).  Kudos to Angel for being there to diffuse the situation on Denison.

Gloria, not to undermine your account of the event, but to stress the conclusion...we need activities for our youth, especially the young boys.  I am not going to sugar coat it.  Kids go through a violent period, regardless of where they are raised...suburbs or cities.  Their hormones whack them out and they are crazy.  They need healthy outlets for this stress.

Happily, one mom on our street bought an authentic punching bag for the boys on the street.  The long heavy kind.  She has it suspended in her garage and it has been getting a workout. 

I just might need to borrow it some night :)