A Solon youth once again appealed to Solon city officials last week regarding what he described as unsafe situations in the city.

Matthew Seifert, 15, previously approached City Council speaking on behalf of resident Jon Solonche, who had filed a police report on a verbal altercation that allegedly took place in the parking lot following a council meeting.

Matthew, a resident of North Oval, said he had once believed Solon was the safest place to live but now thinks otherwise.

“I was so naïve,” he said. “I was so distraught when I found out it was anything but that (safe).”

Talking during the public comment segment of the City Council meeting, Matthew cited police incidences of the past several weeks, including an assault reported at Rollhouse Entertainment and a break-in at Dodd Camera. Matthew went on to describe the incident involving Mr. Solonche again, stating that there needs to be consequences, and it should be handled despite the fact that the residents involved in the alleged incident Adam Zelwin, 40, brother of Councilman Jeremy A. Zelwin, and Brandon Boro, 39, are “related to a councilman and friendly with the mayor.

“Why is nothing being done to make sure this doesn’t happen again?” Matthew asked.

Law Director Thomas G. Lobe said he looked into the matter. “None of it involved anyone directly on this dais or (department) directors,” Mr. Lobe began.

He said of the alleged incident involving Mr. Solonche, that there was an encounter in the parking lot that the police chief and his officers investigated and followed up on with Mr. Solonche.

“He specifically indicated he did not want to prosecute, so there was nothing for the police department or prosecutor to do,” Mr. Lobe said.

Chief Christopher P. Viland said he would not make any comment about any specific investigation at this time. He stated at the council meeting that, “the Solon Police Department actively investigates all complaints, and in those circumstances where all of the elements of a crime can be proven in a court of law and we have witnesses or a victim willing to testify and the prosecutor has approved prosecution, we will zealously pursue bringing violators into account in whatever court is applicable no matter who they are friends of or no matter who they have any kind of connection to at the dais.

“I am somewhat offended by those comments,” Chief Viland continued. “I believe that the department’s actions in the past have shown we enforce the law equally and there are people that you are well aware of that and have been brought to account regardless of their position in the city.”

Mayor Edward H. Kraus went on to address Matthew’s comments. “You can attack us up here. We are fair game because we are elected officials. But you are not going to attack the integrity of our police department.

“That is one thing you will never do, and I’ll explain why,” the mayor said.

The mayor stated that while holding positions within the Cuyahoga County government, he worked with all 59 municipalities in the region, and there is no police department with the training, background and integrity of Solon’s.

“It is the best police department in Northeast Ohio,” Mayor Kraus said, adding that Solon was the first in the region to handle mortgage fraud and business fraud cases, which are often difficult to solve.

“We are the safest community in the region, and a lot of that is because of our police department,” Mayor Kraus said.

Mr. Solonche said Monday that he is trying to put the case, now closed, behind him. Police spoke with the other two parties involved, he said, and then “gave me a choice.

“The officer made it seem like there was no criminal behavior on their part so I decided not to do anything,” he said.

He said he is trying to get past the incident and will feel comfortable to come to another council meeting.

“I’m not going to have my ability to speak at council compromised,” Mr. Solonche said.

For the last decade, Sue Reid has covered the government, business climate and residents of Solon. A Times reporter for 22 years, Ms. Reid has earned commendations from the Ohio Newspaper Association and Cleveland Press Association.

(1) comment

steelydanh

I've been living here over 50 years. Never, not once have I felt unsafe.

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