Twinsburg Police Department Media Release
An update on the traffic stop incident that occurred on Christmas Day
On Wednesday, December 25, 2019 at approximately 11:21 PM, Twinsburg Police officers responded to a report of an erratic driver operating on I-480. The first responding officer located a vehicle stopped on the side of I-480 eastbound at milepost 35. The officer interacted with the sole occupant, John Sotomayer of Streetsboro, who identified himself as a Cleveland Police officer. While speaking with Mr. Sotomayer, the officer observed indicators of impairment. When a Twinsburg Police sergeant arrived on scene, the officers made a decision to release Mr. Sotomayer to his wife who was already enroute to the scene and to impound Mr. Sotomayer’s vehicle.
After an administrative review and consultation with the Law Department, the Twinsburg Police Department charged John Sotomayer with section 4511.194 of the Ohio Revised Code which is having physical control of a vehicle while under the influence, a misdemeanor of the first degree. Mr. Sotomayer was booked on the charge at the Twinsburg Police Department and released on bond.
Chief Christopher Noga stated, “Poor choices were made on Christmas night. The first was Mr. Sotomayer’s decision to place the public in harm’s way. The second poor choice was made by myofficers to treat Mr. Sotomayer differently from anyone else in relation to their interaction with him. While the officers ensured that an impaired individual would not drive away, the fact that Mr. Sotomayer is a Cleveland Police officer should not have weighed any differently in this situation. In fact, this should hold greater weight as the choice to not arrest Mr. Sotomayer that night has affected public trust not only for us, but for law enforcement as a profession. Police officers are human beings and human beings make choices that sometimes do not align with an organization’s preferred way of handling a situation. As the leader of the Twinsburg Police Department, I take responsibility for this lack of alignment. We have internally reviewed this incident to ensure that our policies and philosophies are the correct tools needed by our officers to prevent something like this from happening again as well as what is needed to restore any lost confidence by our residents in our Department. Both officers have been fully counseled regarding their actions taken and decisions made that evening. As a result of this incident, we have to learn from this and perform better, both as an agency and as individuals.”