The leader of the Greater Cleveland Cop Block chapter stood on a public sidewalk in his hometown of Parma last week with a sign reading “Check point ahead / Turn now.” Parma police then turned their attention away from indiscriminately stopping drivers to cite him with an extremely vague “obstructing official business” charge, before taking his sign as “evidence” and sending him on his way.
Doug Odolecki is no stranger to Parma police officers. He was featured in an April Scene story about a Cop Block meetup in Cleveland, where we wrote: “The 42-year-old has a penchant for protesting DUI checkpoints — what he calls ‘Papers, please! Checkpoints’ — near his Parma house and in surrounding suburbs. He’ll find out when one’s scheduled and then head down the road and hold up a sign warning motorists of the awaiting presence.”
Odolecki, as Cop Blockers advocate, filmed Friday’s interaction with police and uploaded it to YouTube. The 20-minute video starts as two cops approach him on foot.
Without Odolecki filming, we wouldn’t have been able to see one of the officers give one of the most Orwellian explanations for harassing a person doing nothing more than exercising First Amendment rights. Here’s their crazy justification for drunk driving checkpoints: “I’m Lieutenant McCann and I need to advise you, you can stand here with the sign, but you’re going to need to get rid of the ‘turn now.’ Our sobriety checkpoint is all about educating the public and we need them to come through the checkpoint to educate them.” Ka-ching.
After the officers head to their cars to write up the ticket, Odolecki learns the second officer is James Manzo, the cop Odolecki has been asking Parma police about ever since the city settled a brutality lawsuit for $40,000 in March after Manzo bloodied a kid’s head with his flashlight during an arrest. He's the one with the stereotypical cop mustache, with sunglasses on his head at night. As Manzo returns to give Odolecki the ticket and take his sign from him, he calmly asks the cop “What are the laws against smacking people in the back of the head, I’m wondering?”
The “obstructing official business” charge is horse shit, if you were wondering. We’re sure Odolecki is anxiously awaiting his date in court.