What Happened to the Cops That Let Dahmer Go?

October 21, 2023

With the re-release of the series, Monster, we've seen a lot of renewed interest in the crimes of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. And in particular, the moment where two cops let one of his escaped victims go is getting a lot of attention. But what happened to those cops?

In the series, police officers John Balcerzak and Joseph Gabrish show up at Dahmer's apartment after his neighbors, Glenda Cleveland, Sandra Smith, Tina Spivey, and Nicole Childress, called to report a naked 14-year-old boy wandering the street, bleeding, and acting incoherently. But when they arrive, Dahmer explains that the boy is his boyfriend and that he's simply drunk. And the police officers believe him. They then escort the boy back to his apartment. Unbeknownst to them, Dahmer will soon murder the teen.

The scene in question is based on a 911 call between Cleveland and the police officers, which shows that, for some reason, they didn't believe that the boy was a minor, even though he was completely naked, drugged, and acting erratically. They took his word for it and escorted him back to his apartment, where Dahmer ultimately strangled him and killed him with hydrochloric acid.

The film and the real-life incident are a sobering reminder of why it's so important that law enforcement be held to the highest standards of professionalism, especially when they're investigating reports involving children. But the fact that these two police officers were fired for letting Dahmer kill a vulnerable young boy, and that one of them then went on to become president of his union, is a terrifying indictment of the need for deep police reform.


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