People who watched Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story on Netflix already knew about the 17 gruesome murders that the serial killer with the same name did between 1978 and 1991.
But the true-crime dramatization also shows how systemic racism and institutional failures of the police “allowed one of America’s most notorious serial killers to continue his killing spree in plain sight for over a decade.”
Glenda Cleveland (Niecy Nash), one of Dahmer’s neighbors, who called the police and FBI many times but was not taken seriously, is a real-life person that Dahmer talks about in his book.
The Netflix show makes it look like Cleveland lived in a Milwaukee apartment next door to Dahmer (Evan Peters). Still, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, she lived in a building next door. Because her reports were not looked into, the serial killer went on to kill five more people, some of whom may have been able to be saved.
Konerak Sinthasomphone, who was 14 years old, was one of the five people who died. On May 27, 1991, Cleveland’s daughter, Sandra Smith, and her niece, Nicole Childress, saw the boy running away from Dahmer in an alley.
Sinthasomphone was naked, bleeding, and had been given drugs, but when the police arrived, they said it was just a fight between two gay men. They gave the young man to Dahmer, who killed him in the end.
In a Netflix promo video, Nash said, “The police were right there, and I think they walked him right back into Jeffery Dahmer’s apartment for one of two reasons.” “One, because a Black woman was upset and wanted them to do something about it.
And two, because they thought what they had found was a couple of the same gender. I think it was a combination of homophobia and not having enough respect for a Black woman. The Associated Press also talked to Cleveland’s 18-year-old daughter about that night.
Smith said, “We tried to give the policeman our names, but he just told us to “butt out.” “I did not know why he did not want to know our names. “What are you going to do about this?” I asked. It is a boy.'”
In the following weeks, Dahmer killed four more young men before the police caught him on July 22, 1991. Tracy Edwards was able to get out of his apartment and call for help, as shown in the first episode of the Netflix show. Once inside, the police found several severed heads, bones, and body parts that had been cut up.
After Dahmer was caught, the Rev. Jesse Jackson (Nigel Gibbs) met with Cleveland in Milwaukee. Jackson said at the time, “Police chose the word of a murderer over that of an innocent woman.”
“I just want to get back to normal,” Cleveland told the many reporters who had gathered outside her home. She stayed in the same apartment until 2009. In the meantime, the data entry specialist won several awards and honors from local women’s groups, the Common Council, the County Board, and then-mayor John Norquist, who called her a “model citizen.”
Cleveland did move, but he only moved a few blocks away from where Dahmer did his crimes. Then, when the police went to check on Cleveland’s health in December 2011, they found her dead in her apartment.
The medical examiner’s office said that the 56-year-old died of heart disease and high blood pressure, which were natural causes. Still, she left a mark on the world.
“If there is one thing I would want people to know, it is that Glenda Cleveland was unique. “She was one of a kind,” Nash said. “She deserved a lot more than a cheesy plaque in the back of a social hall for trying to get someone to do something over and over again…
And I would like people to know that we have all met, been, or will meet a Glenda Cleveland at some point in our lives. That is certain.”
Who was actually Glenda Cleveland?
Jeffrey Dahmer’s neighbor, Glenda Cleveland, tried to tell police about her suspicions about him after her teenage daughter and niece saw a man running away from Dahmer, who was bleeding and naked. They tried to protect him from Dahmer and called the police, but Dahmer’s story that the boy was his drunk boyfriend was believed.
Cleveland then reportedly called the police and tried to convince them that the boy was a child and in danger, but nothing was done. Dahmer then killed the boy, who turned out to be Konerak Sinthasomphone, who was 14 years old. Cleveland died on December 24, 2011, when she was 56.
In Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, who plays the role of Glenda Cleveland?
Niecy Nash plays Glenda in Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story. Netflix users may recognize her from her role in Never Have I Ever. She will be in the show’s main cast with Evan Peters, Richard Jenkins, Molly Ringwald, and Michael Learned.