Pointing Fingers: Did Juvenile Court Judges Fail Officer Shane Bartek and His Family?

By Michael Sakal
Michael Sakal
Michael Sakal
Michael Sakal is a former reporter for The Epoch Times.
January 17, 2022Updated: January 17, 2022

Questions are being asked about judges in Ohio’s Lorain County and Cuyahoga County juvenile court systems and whether they failed to perform their duties in the case of accused killer Tamara Unique McLoyd.

McLoyd’s offenses—assault, aggravated menacing, unauthorized use of a vehicle, complicity in the commission of a robbery, armed robbery, and now murder—escalated over time, according to court records. She was classified as a serious youth offender (SYO) in Lorain County Juvenile Court in 2020.

If McLoyd, 18, had been incarcerated at that time, then-Cleveland police officer Shane Bartek would still be alive, many people close to the case say.

On Jan. 13, prosecutors from the Lorain County Juvenile Courts pointed at county Domestic Relations Court Judge Frank Janik. The prosecutor’s office stated that Jennifer Goodall, one of the assistant prosecutors, recommended that McLoyd be placed in a juvenile detention center on a 2020 robbery-related offense until she was 21, according to a statement from Assistant Chief Prosecuting Attorney Nick Celebrezze.

McLoyd has admitted to police and prosecutors that she shot Bartek, 25, twice in the back about 6 p.m. local time on New Year’s Eve during a carjacking in the parking lot of an apartment complex on the west side of Cleveland.

Bartek, who was off duty, was shot during a struggle when he tried to get her gun away from her. He died later at nearby Fairview Hospital.

“Why he [Janik] didn’t place her in a juvenile detention center, we don’t know,” Celebrezze said. “We could only speculate.”

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Tamara Unique McLoyd, 18, of Garfield Heights near Cleveland, has been charged in the Dec. 31 shooting death of Cleveland police officer Shane Bartek. (Courtesy of Cleveland Police Department)

Janik couldn’t be reached for comment; David Nehr, a bailiff in his office, told The Epoch Times on Jan. 14 that the judge wouldn’t comment on a pending case.

McLoyd is due back in Janik’s courtroom, at a date yet to be scheduled, over the commission of a 2020 robbery in Kipton, Ohio, for which she received five years probation on Nov. 2.

She now has violated that probation, according to prosecutors.

“The judge will make a comment in the courtroom during her sentencing on that case when that happens,” Nehr said. “We hope to have her back in our courtroom soon.”

According to information received by The Epoch Times from Cuyahoga and Lorain juvenile courts, McLoyd’s crimes have been going on at least since 2017, when she was 13 years old, but nothing that judges considered serious enough to put her in a detention center or issue a warrant for her arrest.

Most recently, McLoyd failed to show up for a September 2021 phone hearing for driving without a license a month earlier, according to information from Cuyahoga’s juvenile court.

Judge Patrick Corrigan had that case in his courtroom and no warrant for her arrest was issued after she failed to appear.

While McLoyd was committing some of her crimes as a juvenile throughout the Greater Cleveland area, she was considered a dangerous person. Classified as a serious offender by Lorain County, she was placed on five years probation after changing her robbery charges plea to guilty from not guilty.

If she violated the probation, she would face a lengthy jail sentence, Celebrezze said.

Lorain County’s Janik tried to transfer McLoyd’s probation supervision to Cuyahoga because she lived in that county. But Cuyahoga refused to accept jurisdiction because she had no pending cases there and informed Janik of that in a letter dated Dec. 5, 2021.

The courts took no further action in the matter.

Bartek was the first of three police officers killed across the United States in the past two weeks, including two on Jan. 10. All three were in their 20s.

On the evening of Jan. 10, Los Angeles police officer Fernando Arroyos, 27, was shot and killed while house hunting with his girlfriend. He was off duty at the time.

Four gang members have been arrested in connection with his death, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

The sheriff’s department requested that federal authorities prosecute the case instead of Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon, a Democrat, because it believes him too lenient to prosecute Arroyos’s murder.

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Los Angeles police officer Fernando Arroyos, 27, was shot and killed on Jan. 10 while off duty and housing hunting with his wife. Four gang members have been charged in his death.  (Courtesy of Los Angeles Police Department)

If convicted on federal charges, the suspects could face the death penalty.

Gascon’s reputation as a liberal and lenient law enforcement officer precedes him.

Soon after Gascon was hired as police chief in Mesa, Arizona, he publicly complained that officers were “using their guns too much.”

He often was at odds with then-Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio when Arpaio’s sheriffs conducted raids at businesses believed to be employing illegal immigrants.

When Gascon became the district attorney in San Francisco, he was quick to note that he believed many criminal cases “were not prosecuted properly” and was prepared to release many dangerous offenders back on the streets.

He also implemented sentencing reforms that would help reduce the prison population.

Also on Jan. 10, Montgomery, Alabama, police Detective Tanisha Pughsley, 27, was shot and killed in an apparent domestic-violence-related incident inside her home in Montgomery. A 24-year-old man, believed to be Pughsley’s ex-boyfriend, is facing capital charges in connection with her death; Pughsley had filed a protective order against him earlier this year.

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Det. Tanisha Pughsley, 27, was shot and killed inside her home on Jan. 10, 2021. A 24-year-old man reported to be her ex-boyfriend she had a restraining order against, is facing capital charges in her death. (Courtesy of Montgomery Police Department).


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The hearse carrying the flag-draped casket of slain Cleveland police officer Shane Bartek, 25, is escorted by motorcycle officers on Jan. 11, 2021. (Photo Michael Sakal/The Epoch Times)

In 2021, 62 officers were killed by gunfire, according to Jack Hall, a candidate for Lorain County, Ohio, sheriff. Seven of those deaths were law enforcement officers in Ohio, Hall said.

COVID-19 claimed the lives of 330 others.