Is Cordero not Ramsey the real hero in Cleveland Amanda Berry rescue?

The problem with celebrating Charles Ramsey as a hero, isn't his past but that he might be the wrong guy. Photo: AP

WASHINGTON, May 10, 2013 ― The problem with Charles Ramsey, the heroic rescuer of the three Ohio women who were held captive for ten years, is not his checkered past, but that he might be the wrong guy. That might be Angel Cordero.

In an impromptu interview on the street after the rescue, Ramsey explained how he had heard a woman screaming “like a car had hit a kid.” He ran from his living room, clutching a half-eaten McDonald’s Big Mac, to the house and helped free a woman identified as Amanda Berry.

“Amanda said, ‘I’ve been trapped in here. He won’t let me out. It’s me and my baby.”

“She’s like, ‘This (expletive) kidnapped me and my daughter,’” he told the 911 operator, according to WEWS. Castro “got some big testicles to pull this off, bro,” Ramsey told WEWS. “Because we see this dude every day. I mean every day.”

It is not hard to see why the charismatic Ramsey has become a media favorite; he has a down to earth, slightly off type of charm. Not many people could have the phone conversation that he had with the 911 operator and still be seen as loveable.

“Hey bro,” Ramsey tells the 911 operator. “Check this out. I just came from McDonald’s right? So I’m on my porch eating my little food, right? This broad is trying to break out the f–—g house next door to me, so there’s a bunch of people on the street right now and s—t. So we’re like, ‘What’s wrong, what’s the problem?’ She’s like, ‘This m––—r done kidnapped me and my daughter … She said her name is Linda Berry or some s—t. I don’t know who the f—k that is, I just moved over here, bro. You know what I mean?”


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Ramsey tells the operator an address which he says corresponds to Berry’s location, not Ramsey’s home address. “I’m smarter than that, bro. I’m telling you where the crime was, not my house,” he says.

“Are the people that she said did this, are they still in the house?” the 911 operator asks.

“I don’t have a f–—g clue, bro. Like I said, I just came from McDonald’s.”

There is no doubt that Charles Ramsey did not worry about his personal safety as he helped Amanda Berry away from the house of horrors where she was a captive, and no doubt that Ramsey’s actions were truly lifesaving and he should be treated with respect and awe for those things but there were clues in what he said during his 911 call and his on the street interview that revealed that there might be something that we were missing.

Ramsey told a local TV reporter, “I figured it was a domestic violence dispute. So I open the door. And we can’t get in that way ‘cause of how the door is, it’s so much that a body can’t fit through; only your hand. So we kicked the bottom.”

A lot of people have missed the “we” in Ramsey’s description of events that day. Clearly there was someone else with him.

Also during the 911 call, when Ramsey is on the phone talking to the operator he wants to make it very clear, understandably, that none of this has occurred at his house and he gives an address to the operator so the police can locate them but it is not Ramsey’s address, so where were they calling from?

It turns out that the other half of the “we” is a young man named Angel Cordero.

Cordero explains that he was sitting on a friend’s porch that fateful day, when they heard some commotion at Castro’s house and went to investigate.

“(The friend) had told me that there was something going on in the house at the front and we went to go see and all we heard was screaming”

“We saw a hand outside the house that was moving up and down so we went to go check what was going on and she had told me that she had been kidnapped  for ten years.”

“I kicked the door at the bottom because I was trying to get it open because it was too hard so I got it at the bottom and that’s when Amanda ran out of the house.”

“When Amanda came out she returned to get her daughter and she took her out of the hole at the bottom of the door and I told her ‘Quickly, let’s go across the street to (the friend’s) house just in case the man comes back so you won’t get hurt or anything’ so she went to (the friend’s) house and she used her phone and that’s when she let the police know what was going on,” he told CNN.

Cordero went into a bit more detail about Ramsey’s role, saying that by the time Ramsey arrived, Amanda was already “outside with the girl.”

And for that address given during the 911 call, another Spanish-speaking neighbor, Wintel Tejeda, told WEWS that Berry made the 911 call from his house. (A public records search confirms that Tejeda lives at 2210 Seymour Ave., the address that Berry gave to the emergency dispatcher.)

But Cordero says that he does not harbor any resentment or jealousy toward Ramsey, as long as the women he helped rescue from the home are okay.

For his part, Ramsey didn’t mention Cordero by name but did say that when he heard the woman screaming he saw his neighbor run across the street and so he went along to see what was going on. 

It is obvious why Cordero has not received as much attention as Ramsey in the press. First of all, he does not speak any English and needs a translator in order to conduct interviews, and second, he cannot compete with Charles Ramsey’s colorful nature.

All three of these people involved need to be hailed as heroes for their actions on May 6but when we speak of the hero who actually got involved in a situation that many would have walked past and who kicked in a door so captives could be free for the first time in a decade, we need to remember Angel Cordero.


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Susan L Ruth

Susan L. Ruth is a long-time Washington, DC resident with extensive ties throughout the community.  She is a genealogical researcher and writer, and is an active volunteer in the Northern Virginia competitive swimming community.  Susan previously worked providing life-skills to head injured adults. 

Susan and her husband Kerry currently live in Northern Virginia with their three sons, Ryley, Casey and Jack and their American Bulldog, Leila.

 

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