One Cleveland felon got a serious lesson in cause and effect today, as a judge threw down a four year jail sentence related to the bizarre death of a Cleveland Heights police officer last March. It’s certainly one of the stranger and more unfortunate incidents in the local world of cops and robbers.
On March 13, 21-year-old Malcolm Bryant was causing a ruckus at the Marc’s on Coventry, reportedly harassing and threatening female employees. When a security guard tried to toss him to the curb, Bryant spit in his face and ran off. Police were called to the scene, including 30-year-old Officer Tom Patton, son of Ohio Senator Thomas Patton. The police pursued, but at one point in the chase the otherwise hale Patton fell behind, clutching his chest, and collapsed. Patton was taken to the hospital where he later died. The coroner later determined the death was due to cardiac arrest; the officer had no previous history of heart problems, and was even training for 10-k race at the time.
Today, according to the Plain Dealer, Bryant was sentenced to a four-year prison stint for causing Patton’s death. Everyone — including the prosecution, Judge John Russo, and Patton’s family — seems to agree Bryant didn’t mean to kill anyone, but still has to heft the consequences.
"You are not the first person, Mr. Bryant, to come before me after to pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter because somebody lost a life unexpectedly during a crime," Russo reportedly said. "Obviously, it wasn't intended for the officer to demise the way he did."
Bryant pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter, assault on a peace officer and escape. After he serves his four years, he’ll have three additional years on parole.