CLEVELAND, Ohio-- A Cleveland police officer has been indicted for negligent homicide in the 2015 death of an unarmed 18-year-old breaking and entering suspect, according to Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty.
The prosecutor's office said Patrolman Alan Buford was charged by a Cuyahoga County Grand Jury with fatally shooting Brandon Jones outside a Parkwood Avenue store during the early morning hours of March 19, 2015.
Patrolman Buford and his partner, Patrolman Gregory King, had responded to a report of a break-in at the Parkwood Grocery and with guns drawn confronted Jones as he exited the store carrying a bag of stolen items including coins, cigars, and cigarettes, the prosecutor's office said.
As the officers were arresting Jones, Patrolman Buford, for reasons unknown, fired his service weapon. The bullet hit the suspect, killing him.
The shooting was investigated by the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department, the Cleveland Division of Police and the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Prosecutor McGinty said:
“Based on the known evidence, our Office recommended and the Grand Jury agreed that Officer Buford’s conduct did not meet the U.S. Supreme Court’s legal standards to justify a police officer’s use of deadly force. It was reasonable for the police to respond as they did to a 911 call of a break-in, reasonable to confront the suspect with guns drawn as he left the store with stolen merchandise and to order him to stop. It is not reasonable for a police officer to use deadly force if he or she does not believe a suspect poses a threat of death or serious bodily harm to the police or the public. Therefore, based on the facts and circumstances in this case, we recommended criminal charges against Officer Buford and the Grand Jury agreed.”
Cleveland police said Buford will remain on restricted duty within the Cleveland Division of Police pending the adjudication of the case.