Cleveland Chief of Police Wes Snyder announced his retirement on Friday, Dec. 7, and 72 hours later was appearing before the Cleveland City Council with an apology, and this was voted by members of the Cleveland Daily Banner’s news team as the year’s No. 10 story among the Top 10 for 2013.
Snyder submitted his letter stating his retirement would begin Jan. 5 — his 10th anniversary leading the police department.
However, there was a backstory that came to light less than 24 hours after Snyder’s letter was made public.
A police incident report, dated Wednesday, Dec. 5, had been filed which concerned a call from the owner of a local storage facility.
The owner of Rhodes Climate Controlled Storage, 3305 Old Tasso Road, showed responding officers pictures and video of what was described as unusual activity at one of the units.
Further investigation found the unit contained “a few boxes that were in front of the sliding door, and on the other side of the boxes were an area rug with a couple of blankets and pillows, a fold-out chair and a three-drawer plastic container.”
Officers were told the unit was rented by MainStreet Cleveland through its executive director, Sharon Marr.
The surveillance video showed Marr entering the building “with a white male dressed in a suit with a brown sport coat.”
“About an hour and half later the male is seen exiting the building and getting into [Marr’s] vehicle and about three minutes later [Marr is seen] exiting the building and [getting] into her vehicle and the two leave the property together.”
The man in the video was not named in the report, but on Dec. 8, CPD Public Information Officer Evie West confirmed to the Banner the man in the video had been positively identified as Snyder.
Neither City Manager Janice Casteel nor Mayor Tom Rowland ever directly cited the incident as the catalyst for Snyder’s abrupt retirement decision, but never denied the incident occurred and quickly obliged the Banner’s request to acquire the incident report.
On Dec. 10, both Snyder and Marr appeared before the Cleveland City Council, filled with residents anticipating some discussion of the matter, to offer apologies for their actions.
“I made a terrible mistake with a very dear and very good friend,” Snyder told the council. “It plunged all of us into circumstances that are horrible, to say the least. I take full responsibility and complete responsibility for my actions. Without a doubt I have used poor judgment in this matter. So I stand here today and I will ask you for your forgiveness.”
Marr also offered a statement of contrition.
“I am truly sorry for the embarrassment that my actions have caused to this community, [to] the city [and] to Main Street,” Marr said. “Most of all, I am deeply sorry to my family, friends, Wes’ family and all the very good people who are hurting so badly at this time.”
Snyder remains as Cleveland’s chief in title until his announced retirement date while he exhausts his accrued vacation time. Capt. David Bishop is serving as the department’s interim chief.
Marr is currently on administrative leave with pay while the MainStreet Cleveland board of directors conducts a “full review of the incident.”
MainStreet Cleveland President Joe Burton said a third-party audit will also be performed “just to make sure as a board that we know where we stand as it relates to this incident.”
Burton said the review “will take as long as it takes” and it will not be until the review is concluded that any decision on Marr’s future with the organization will be considered appropriate for discussion.