Cleveland officer involved in deadly shooting of unarmed burglary suspect is fired

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A police officer accused shooting and killing an unarmed burglary suspect in 2015 has been terminated from the Cleveland Division of Police.

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Alan Buford was acquitted earlier this year of negligent homicide after fatally shooting Brandon Jones, 18, outside a Parkwood Avenue store March 19, 2015.

Buford and his partner confronted Jones as he was leaving the store with a bag of stolen cigarettes, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office said.

Cleveland police said the officers got into a struggle with Jones when they tried to arrest him. That's when Buford fired his service weapon, killing Jones.

Jones did not have a weapon. Buford's attorney argued the shooting was justified because a reasonable officer would have feared for his life.

In a press release issued Thursday, Buford was terminated from employment with the city Thursday.

It states:

"After the adjudication of the criminal case, an administrative review of the incident was completed and the findings presented to the Director of Public Safety who conducted a pre-disciplinary hearing.  After the pre-disciplinary hearing, Director of Public Safety Michael McGrath found that Patrol Officer Alan Buford did violate the Cleveland Division of Police Use of Force Policy by using force greater than what was necessary during the incident.  Patrol Officer Alan Buford, who was hired by the Division of Police on August 19, 1996, is hereby terminated effective immediately."

Attorney Paul Cristallo, who represents the family of Brandon Jones, gave the following statement to Fox 8:

"On behalf of Brandon’s family, we are thankful that the City of Cleveland is making Officer Buford accountable for this avoidable tragedy. We hope the City of Cleveland continues to reform its police department consistent with the Justice Department findings and recommendations.  This is an important step towards justice and a step closer to the City of Cleveland making things right with Brandon Jones’ family and loved ones."

The family of Brandon Jones has filed a wrongful death lawsuit that is still pending in court.

The Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association also released a statement Thursday. For the complete statement, click here. 

Continuing coverage of this story here