Fired Cleveland police officer reinstated

CLEVELAND – A Cleveland police officer fired after he was accused of shooting and killing an unarmed burglary suspect in 2015 has been reinstated.

Cleveland police union officials told the Fox 8 I-Team Wednesday that Alan Buford won an arbitration ruling and will be reinstated.

“This is another example of the city wrongly firing a good police officer,” said Jeff Follmer, president of the city’s police union.

City officials could not be reached to discuss the matter. It is not known if the city will appeal the ruling.

Buford was acquitted in 2017 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.

Attorney Paul Cristallo, who represents the family of Brandon Jones, says a wrongful death lawsuit against the city and the officer is still pending in court.

Cristallo released a statement on behalf of Brandon Jones’ family, “We are shocked and saddened, yet not surprised. This is why civil rights lawsuits are necessary. What other job can you shoot and kill a young man without provocation and get your job back without any ramifications. Brandon’s family did not get justice in the criminal case and now they are denied the satisfaction of knowing that this officer would be held accountable by the Cleveland Police Department. We are left with their last hope for acknowledgment in the civil court. It may ultimately take a jury to objectively judge Officer Buford for his wrongful actions.”