Former Browns stud Jim Brown makes for an unlikely advocate for nonviolence, given his handsome rap sheet for wife-beating. But to Mayor Jane Campbell, he's a swell role model for inner-city youth.
The mayor's office is launching a partnership with Brown's Amer-I-Can, a nonprofit that works to quash gang violence. Campbell will put "significant amounts of money" toward reaching out to schools and neighborhoods, says Community Relations Director Jeffrey Johnson.
Brown, however, isn't exactly the ideal guy for dealing with kids -- especially young women. In 1968, he was accused of throwing a woman from a second-story balcony. In 1985, he was charged with rape. (Brown skated in both cases after the women declined to testify.)
In 1999, his wife, Monique, accused him of threatening to snap her neck. She detailed a long history of beatings, accusing Brown of giving her a black eye, choking her, and threatening her with a metal spear. At trial, Monique recanted, saying that she had lied to get attention after the couple argued over whether her husband had been unfaithful.
Nevertheless, Brown was convicted of vandalism for bashing in the window of her car with a shovel, which illustrates his Gandhian tendencies. He could have gotten off with a fine and probation, but he refused to attend domestic-violence counseling and perform community service. So he served four months in the slam instead.
Yet Johnson believes there's a distinction between merely beating your wife and beating a rival gangbanger on the street. "It has nothing to do with domestic violence," he says of the mayor's program. "It has everything to do with gangs."
But it may not be such a good idea to trust Johnson with "significant amounts of money" either. You may remember him as the former city councilman and state senator who did time for extorting $17,000 in contributions and loans from grocers.
Only in Cleveland would we hire a wife-beater and a thief to run a program for kids.
With the rest of her staff fleeing like frat boys after the keg's run dry, Campbell might consider sending the Help Wanted ads directly to the Department of Corrections. Frank Gruttadauria would make a fabulous finance director.
Daddy's big gun
Getting arrested should ordinarily be the low point of any day. But Danny Wyatt II didn't know how good he had it when Akron cops busted him last year.
Police arrived at Wyatt's home after two men were reported fighting in the front yard. Wyatt was arrested for assault. But instead of keeping his mouth shut, he screamed, "My kids! There's nobody home for my kids!" Officer Allen Fite entered the house and found two kids, ages three and four. He also found a loaded semiautomatic on the floor.
Leaving a loaded weapon around as a conversation piece is not a particularly bright idea. It also violated Wyatt's parole for a previous assault conviction and won him two new counts of child endangerment to boot. In March, a jury found Wyatt guilty of all counts and sentenced him to another year in the pokey.
Wyatt appealed, saying that police had searched his home without a warrant and that the jury didn't have enough evidence to prove the gun was his.
But as you may have already gleaned, Wyatt is a huge dumbass.
Last week the appeals court ruled that cops don't need a warrant if they think kids may be in danger. And evidence of the gun's ownership came from Wyatt's own children, who told Officer Fite, "That's Daddy's gun. His big gun is at the other house."
You can't blame Akron police for trying to jam up crackheads in drug-infested neighborhoods, but they might have gone a bit too far with Robert Arnold Salas.
Last year, Salas was crossing a residential street when he was busted for the nefarious crime of jaywalking. There were no cars coming, but officers figured it would be a good excuse to pat the homeless man down. They ended up finding a gram of crack and a little weed. Officer Kelly Dyer arrested him on the spot.
Salas pleaded no contest and was sentenced to a year of probation. But on appeal, his lawyer Jeffrey James offered this analogy: "Do you mean to tell me that when I'm taking Christmas cookies to my neighbor across the street and there's no traffic, I have to walk to the end of the block to cross?" James asked Officer Dyer in court.
"Yes, you do," Dyer said.
"That's stupid," said James.
The court agreed, ruling that the dope couldn't be admitted as evidence because the entire stop was illegal -- and kinda stupid.
Hire Terry Robiskie!
Okay, so the Browns have sucked under Terry Robiskie just as much as they sucked under Butch Davis, when they sucked worse than a Rob Schneider movie. But at least Robiskie accomplished something that hadn't been witnessed in these parts since before Halloween: He finally beat the point spread.
As those of you who can't resist homer bets know, the Browns hadn't beaten the spread since October 24. But that wretched run was snapped in the recent 10-7 loss to Miami.
When oddsmakers first set the line for the Misery Bowl -- the loser of which was virtually guaranteed the second pick in the draft -- they made Miami only a six-point favorite. So everyone started betting their kids' college savings on the Dolphins. By kickoff, the Browns were 9-1/2-point dogs.
But through the utter brilliance of Luke McCown, the hometown boys actually scored a touchdown, leaving dads across the land to convince their kids that they'd have a much better time at junior college. The Browns turned the trick a second time last week, handily covering the spread against Houston while also inadvertently winning the game.
Breaking Poverty News
As part of its continuing series on poverty titled "Guys Named Skippy Discover America," The Plain Dealer has unveiled shocking conditions in Cleveland. But the paper outdid itself last Sunday when it reported that, contrary to popular belief, the institution of marriage is in trouble. It seems unwed women are having babies. Others are getting divorced. And this, startlingly, can make you poor.
Stay tuned for next week when the paper goes undercover to reveal that some teens enjoy premarital sex and have no intention of pursuing an MBA.