CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A judge on Tuesday handed down a 4 1/2-year prison sentence to a former Cleveland police officer who admitted to urinating on a 12-year-old girl after she refused to get in his car at a school bus stop.
Solomon Nhiwatiwa, 34, showed no emotion during his only chance to speak before Common Pleas Court Judge Wanda C. Jones handed down her sentence.
“I would like to apologize to the victim,” Nhiwatiwa said.
Nhiwatiwa stood silent for several seconds before Jones asked if he had anything else to say.
“I take responsibility for what I did," he said, then sat down.
Jones said that she was not convinced that Nhiwatiwa was truly sorry for his conduct. She said the physical and mental abuse he inflicted on the girl and his position as a police officer, which required him to protect the community from the very types of attacks he carried out, required consecutive sentences.
Nhiwatiwa faced a maximum of 7 1/2 years in prison after he pleaded guilty in December to charges of attempted kidnapping, pandering obscenity, disseminating matter harmful to juveniles and endangering children in the Aug. 16 attack.
As part of his plea agreement, Nhiwatiwa agreed to resign his position with Cleveland police and his license to be a police officer in the state of Ohio.
Nhiwatiwa, who was hired to the force in 2014, was suspended without pay after his arrest. He has been disciplined four times in his five years with Cleveland police officer and was involved in a fatal shooting while working as a security guard in 2012 before he joined the force.
The girl’s father told Jones that both he and his daughter are struggling to cope with feelings of blame.
“She knew what she was supposed to do, and she did everything that she was supposed to do,” he said.
Nhiwatiwa was off-duty when he drove up to the girl as she waited for the bus to take her to school, and asked her if she needed a ride, court records say. The girl refused his offers and he drove away, court records say.
Nhiwatiwa then returned on foot, pulled out his cellphone and recorded himself as he urinated on her, according to court records.
The girl yelled out to him, “What is your problem?” and Nhiwatiwa responded, “What’s wrong, b---h,” court records say.
Nhiwatiwa continued to record video with his cellphone as he walked away, records say.
A resident nearby called police to report a suspicious person later identified as Nhiwatiwa looking into cars around the same time. Police pieced together evidence to connect Nhiwatiwa to both incidents, prosecutors said.
DNA taken from the girl’s clothes matched Nhiwatiwa’s, and the girl identified him in a photo lineup, prosecutors said.
Jones and Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Jennifer Driscoll criticized the Euclid police department for not taking the girl’s report seriously at first.
“She was victimized twice," Jones told the girl’s father. “The fact that [the report] wasn’t taken right away is quite disturbing to this court.”