Cleveland Police Officer Indicted in Fatal Shooting; Former East Cleveland Officers Indicted in Separate Case

Family and others held a vigil for Brandon Jones last year outside the store where an officer shot him.
Family and others held a vigil for Brandon Jones last year outside the store where an officer shot him. (Nick Castele / ideastream)

by Nick Castele

A Cleveland police officer has been indicted on a count of negligent homicide in the 2015 shooting death of Brandon Jones, an unarmed 18-year-old. In a separate case, two former East Cleveland police officers were indicted on felony counts of kidnapping, assault and other charges. 

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty announced the indictments late Friday afternoon.

In the Cleveland case, Patrolman Alan Buford and his partner were investigating a report of an early-morning store break-in in March 2015, according to a news release from McGinty. With guns drawn, they confronted Jones, who was seen leaving the store with coins, cigars and cigarettes, the release says. 

“As the officers were arresting Mr. Jones, Patrolman Buford, for reasons unknown, negligently fired his service weapon,” the release says. “The bullet hit the suspect in the upper chest, inflicting a fatal wound.”

An attorney for Buford told the Associated Press he believes Buford acted appropriately. 

Negligent homicide is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of 180 days in county jail.

In the East Cleveland case, prosecutors say then-officers Denayne R. Davidson-Dixon and Gerald A. Spencer II arrested Jesse R. Nickerson and, “following verbal sparring,” drove him to Forest Hills Park on July 24 this year. There they pulled him from their squad car and assaulted him, according to a news release from McGinty. 

The two officers were later fired from the East Cleveland police department.

A grand jury indicted Davidson-Dixon and Spencer on counts of kidnapping, felonious assault, conspiracy, obstructing official business, interfering with civil rights and dereliction of duty.

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