Death of woman restrained by Cleveland police ruled homicide

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CLEVELAND- The death of a woman whose family says she was killed by Cleveland police has been ruled a homicide.

Cleveland police were called to a home on Ansel Road just before 11 p.m. on Nov. 12 for a disturbance involving a “mentally ill family member.” Tanisha Anderson, 37, eventually agreed to be taken to St. Vincent Charity Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.

According to police, while taking Anderson to the police car, she began to resist and was handcuffed as she continued to kick at officers.

“A short time later the woman stopped struggling and appeared to go limp. Officers found a faint pulse,” police said. Anderson was taken to the Cleveland Clinic and pronounced dead at 12:30 a.m.

The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office said her death was caused by “physical restraint in a prone position in association with ischemic heart disease and bipolar disorder with agitation.” The manner of death was homicide by legal intervention.

Anderson’s family said they believe she would still be alive if not for excessive force by the Cleveland police.

“The family demands justice for Tanisha, a thorough criminal investigation and an independent prosecutor that results in accountability by the police officers and the Cleveland Police Department,” the family said in a statement on Friday.

The family has pointed to the Department of Justice’s recent findings on the Cleveland Division of Police, accusing officers of engaging in a pattern of excessive force. The 58-page report also said the department uses “excessive force against persons who are mentally ill, or in crisis.”

Cleveland police said its Use of Deadly Force Investigation Team continues to look into the case, and the officers involved are assigned to restricted duty. The city of Cleveland had nothing to say about the medical examiner's ruling, aside from they do not comment on ongoing cases.

During recent rallies for 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was shot and killed by a Cleveland police in November, protestors have also said they're seeking justice for Anderson.