Cleveland officials rule slaying of off-duty officer a ‘line of duty’ death

Police leaders said Officer Shane Bartek used training from the police academy when he tried to disarm a carjacker

Duty Death: Shane Bartek - [Cleveland, Ohio]

End of Service: 12/31/2021


By Adam Ferrise
cleveland.com

CLEVELAND — Cleveland officials on Wednesday ruled the slaying of off-duty Cleveland police officer Shane Bartek as a “line of duty” death.

The line-of-duty death ruling by city officials unlocks benefits for Bartek’s family, including financial, that otherwise wouldn’t have been made available. The ruling means the city can help with Bartek’s funeral, scheduled for Tuesday.

Cleveland Officer Shane Bartek was fatally shot on Dec. 31, 2021.
Cleveland Officer Shane Bartek was fatally shot on Dec. 31, 2021. (Cleveland Police Department)

While Bartek was off-duty when a carjacker fatally shot him, Interim Cleveland Police Chief Wayne Drummond said Bartek used training he received at the police academy when he tried to disarm the robber.

The city made the announcement in a video and did not hold a news conference where reporters could ask questions about the decision.

Drummond said the review included watching enhanced video of the New Year’s Eve robbery and shooting, along with a review of Bartek’s training history.

Interim Public Safety Director Karrie Howard said officials looked at laws, policies and procedures as part of the review.

“As the son of a cop, I recognize the important sacrifice law enforcement and their families make to keep our residents safe and secure,” Mayor Justin Bibb said in the video.

Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association Jeff Follmer applauded the ruling. He said state law dictates that officers can make arrests or take police action even if they are off-the-clock.

He also said Bartek used training that he learned through the city’s training academy and through the state’s training courses for police officers.

The ruling also means Bartek’s family is eligible to receive financial help from the non-profit Blue Coats, which helps families after police line-of-duty deaths.

“It was the right decision to be made for Officer Bartek’s memory and for his family,” Follmer said.

Bartek’s death is the 113th line-of-duty death in Cleveland police history, and the fourth since 2017. The last officer to die in the line of duty was Det. James Skernivitz, who was shot to death Sept. 3, 2020 during an undercover drug investigation.

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