April 23, 2014

Elyria
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Police chief’s wife arrested; chief’s response sparks review in Avon, Ridgeville

AVON — The wife of North Ridgeville Police Chief Mike Freeman was arrested Monday by Avon police for allegedly shoplifting from Target while she was with the couple’s 2-year-old son.

Freeman

Elaine Freeman’s arrest and her husband’s reaction have triggered reviews of the incident by the mayors of both Avon and North Ridgeville.

Avon Police Chief Richard Bosley said his officers were called to the store around 12:10 p.m. after Elaine Freeman, 41, was stopped by Target employees for stealing health and beauty products.

He said she was taken into custody and returned to the Avon Police Station to be booked. Bosley said he called Chief Freeman as a courtesy so he could come and pick up his wife and son once the booking process was completed.

But when Chief Freeman arrived, he wasn’t happy, Bosley said.

“He was just upset with the situation,” he said. “I think he was agitated because of that.”

Bosley said Freeman wanted his wife to be given a ticket and released.

“He felt she should have been given special consideration and she should not have had to go through booking,” Bosley said.

Freeman, however, said he wasn’t upset that Avon police arrested his wife. He said he took issue with how his wife and son were treated.

Freeman said his wife was handcuffed at the store and made to push the stroller with her son to the Avon police cruiser, where they were both put in the back. He said once his wife and son arrived at the Avon Police Station, they were both kept in the holding area.

“It’s not that she deserves any special consideration, but that’s not how you treat people,” he said.

Freeman said his own department takes steps to keep children out of the holding area when their parents are arrested.

Bosley said Avon police followed their standard protocols by handcuffing Elaine Freeman and putting her through the booking process.

“It served the best interests of the community as a whole to not have special exceptions,” he said.

Bosley said the only other people in the booking area were police officers and that the child was allowed to walk around and had a stuffed animal with him.

He said Avon police didn’t want to traumatize the child by taking him away from his mother.

“We felt the child would be better served by not being removed by a bunch of strangers,” Bosley said.

Freeman said that his wife would have to accept the consequences of her actions.

“I love my wife. She made an error in judgment and we’re going to move forward to better ourselves,” he said.

North Ridgeville Mayor Dave Gillock said Tuesday that while he hadn’t spoken with Chief Freeman about what happened at the Avon Police Station, the chief’s actions need to be investigated. He said Freeman would be treated like any other city employee whose conduct is called into question.

“We’re going to sit down with Mike and get his side of the story to see what happened, what was said and deal with it,” Gillock said.

Avon Mayor Jim Smith, who contacted Gillock about the incident, said he also will take a look at what happened Monday.

“Whenever there’s a question, I’ll review it,” Smith said.

He said as long as Avon police handled Elaine Freeman’s arrest as they would when taking any other suspect into custody, he doesn’t anticipate there being a problem.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.