I-TEAM: Business owners frustrated after city officials say it could take months to pay for car damages caused by officer

CLEVELAND (WJW) Owners of a downtown business are frustrated that city officials say it could take more than 90 days to determine if they will pay for damages caused when an officer allegedly hit their parked vehicle.

“I heard a loud bang and I looked up and I saw the police officer who hit our parked vehicle when backing up,” said Mat Harkless, who along with his wife, Amber, own Exodus Hair And Barber Lounge on West 9th in Cleveland.

The crash happened around 3:30 p.m. Oct. 31 and was caught on security cameras.

“I completely understand that accidents happen and the officer was very nice, he immediately was like it’s my fault I am sorry you will be fine,” Harkless said. “He told us to file all the paperwork with the city and they will pay for damages but the city isn’t responding.”

Harkless said city officials instructed him to file the claim with his insurance and pay the $500 deductible. He said city officials then told him by email they will decide in 90 days or more whether to pay him the $500.

“This crash was not our fault yet I am the one who has to pay,” Harkless said. “It doesn’t make sense.”

The crash caused $1,300 in damage to their vehicle and they had to pay to get the car towed.

“I just feel like we have had a big run around,” Amber Harkless said. “It’s been 30 days, we made 12 phone calls, we had multiple officers say you need to call this person, now you need to call accident investigation, now you need to call moral claims, and we can’t get in touch with moral claims. “

The I-Team reached out to city officials but have not yet received a return call or email.

“We opened our business here because we love Cleveland,” Mat Harkless said. “But, it’s been hard. We had to be shut down for two months because of COVD and now it’s like I am giving an interest-free loan for $500 to the city for the next 90 days or more.”

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