CLEVELAND - Distraught family members of an unarmed man who was killed by a Euclid police officer last month held a press conference Monday in downtown Cleveland, demanding answers.
Three weeks have passed since 23-year-old Luke Stewart was shot multiple times inside of his car just after 6 a.m. on March 13th, but the family says they haven’t heard anything from investigators.
Lawyers with Friedman & Gilbert, who are representing the family, say typically police will issue a “preliminary statement or justification,” in a police involved shooting, but that hasn’t happened here.
Cleander Stewart, Luke’s brother, repeatedly broke down in tears at the press conference saying, “They tell us nothing, they just kill my brother and say nothing... it makes no sense at all.”
The family has many questions regarding the shooting and is demanding that all of the dashcam and body cam video be released.
They say the young father of 2 small children dropped off a friend and stopped his car because he was tired.
A neighbor called 911 to report the idling vehicle.
A short time after police responded, one officer radioed back that a second officer was inside the car, which took off.
Police radio traffic indicated officers struggled with Stewart. At one point, an officer can be heard saying the vehicle drove off and an officer was inside the car. Seconds later, an officer is heard saying, “shots fired.”
The police radio logs also indicated officers administered CPR on the suspect while waiting for EMS. Stewart died a brief time later, but none of it makes sense to his family members.
Jocelyn Smith said, “To have our cousin shot 5 times... that’s not about trying to stop a threat, that’s about murder”
Another cousin Gregory Smith added, “I’ve never heard of a police officer jumping in the car with passengers seat with you.”
Multiple community activists have also begun demanding answers in the case including the Cleveland chapter of the NAACP and Black Lives Matter.
The family of Luke Stewart is most upset that the officer involved in the shooting is already back on the job. Euclid police say the officer returned to full duty March 25.
“It’s crazy,” said Cleander Stewart,”It makes no sense.”