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Cleveland Reaches Settlement With Family Of Brandon Jones

Family and others held a vigil for Brandon Jones in 2015 outside the store where a Cleveland police officer shot him. [Nick Castele / ideastream]
A crowd with memorial balloons holds a vigil for Brandon Jones in 2015 outside the store where a Cleveland police officer shot him.

The City of Cleveland has reached a $910,000 settlement with the family of 18-year-old Brandon Jones, who was shot and killed by police officer Alan Buford during a struggle at a Glenville grocery store in 2015.

Buford was charged with negligent homicide, but was acquitted in 2017.

"It was professional, but it was certainly a hard fought mediation," said attorney Paul Cristallo, who represented the Jones family and his mother, Tanya Brown. "And ultimately, my client is happy, and she's satisfied, and therefore, so am I."

Cristallo says this was not a good case for the city and he believes the settlement amount could have been higher had it been decided by a jury.

"This was not a justified shooting," Cristallo said. "There's a reason why the prosecutor's office took up the charge on behalf of Brandon. There's a reason why a grand jury indicted Officer Buford. There's a reason why the city terminated Officer Buford."

Cristallo said it was unprecedented that Buford's partner, Officer Gregory King, testified against Buford at his criminal trial.

"He affirmed this at his deposition," Cristallo said. "He basically said, 'I didn't see any justification for what Officer Buford did. I didn't see any reason for him to use deadly force .'"

An arbitrator ruled in October that Buford should get his job back, but the city has not said whether it will appeal the ruling, Buford's lawyer, Henry Hilow, told cleveland.com. Cristallo says he's unsure if Brown and the Jones family would protest Buford's re-hiring.

"If there are protests, if Tanya or others decide to get involved and exercise their right to voice their objection and their opinion and why they think that's a mistake, not only do I think they'd be within their rights, I think they'd be on the right side of the argument," Cristallo said.

Neither the city of Cleveland nor Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association president Jeff Follmer has responded to requests for comment. 

Glenn Forbes is supervising producer of newscasts at Ideastream Public Media.