CLEVELAND (WJW) — The family of a Cleveland man who was shot and killed by a Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) police officer in November, says a newly released autopsy report reveals that 19-year-old man Arthur Keith was shot in the back, and they say the finding contradicts statements that the officer made after the shooting.
It was on November 13 that housing authority police spotted a van that was involved in a shooting the day before.
The officer reported that he ordered Keith to get out of the van and that he shot him after he pointed a gun at him.
During a press conference on Thursday via Zoom, the attorney for Keith’s family says the finding that the 19-year-old was shot from behind, confirms what several witnesses said on the night of the shooting.
“Mr. Keith jumped out of the van and took off running, and as he was running, and as he got more than 15 yards away, he was shot,” said Attorney Stanley Jackson.
The autopsy report from the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office reads in part, “the gunshot wound proceeds from back to front, rightwards and downwards.”
The attorney for the family says the finding raises doubt about the story told by the officer.
“The facts in the report specifically say that Mr. Keith was shot from behind. How is it possible that he could have been pointing a gun or even facing you when the encounter happened?” said Stanley Jackson.
A toxicology report from the Medical Examiner’s Office showed that Keith had marijuana and oxycodone in his system at the time he died.
Ironically, Keith and the officer who shot him, both took part in a program with the Boys and Girls Club, that aims to build bridges between police and the community.
“It’s very sad that the situation happened because there was a relationship through the Boys and Girls Club with CMHA and officers are there to protect, as well as serve,” said Jackson.
The shooting death of Keith was investigated by the Cleveland Police Department, and the findings have been turned over to a special prosecutor in the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
The family is hoping the finding that the 19-year-old was shot in the back, paints a clearer picture for the prosecutor of what happened that night.
“That Arthur was scared, that Arthur was moving away. Arthur was not a threat to that officer,” said his aunt, Matricia Givner.