Autopsy: 19-Year-Old Killed By Cuyahoga Housing Police Was Shot In The Back

Balloons and flowers mark a memorial for Arthur Keith at the King Kennedy public housing development in Cleveland.
A memorial for Arthur Keith on the Sunday after his killing at the King Kennedy public housing development in Cleveland. [Matthew Richmond/ ideastream]

An autopsy of Arthur Keith, the 19-year-old man killed by a public housing police officer in Cleveland, revealed that Keith died of a gun shot wound to the back.

The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s office released the autopsy to the media Thursday, in response to a story in Cleveland.com.

It describes the cause of death as homicide from a gunshot wound to the trunk. Later in the report, the path of the bullet is described as proceeding from “back to front, rightwards and downwards.”

“In light of the recent publication of a description of certain parts of the autopsy of Mr. Keith which were incomplete and to bring transparency and clarity to an issue of community importance, we are releasing this Office’s death investigation report in this case,” the medical examiner’s office said in a statement.

The Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority has not released the name of the officer who killed Keith on Nov. 13. Eyewitness accounts contradicted initial statements by police officials that he was shot after pointing a gun at the officer.

According to Jahzir Melton, whose home was next to the site of the shooting, Keith was running from officers when he was shot and did not have a firearm.

Cleveland police said Keith had a firearm when he was killed.

The medical examiner’s report also contradicts authorities’ initial statement that they were investigating a vehicle parked at King Kennedy public housing for potential involvement in an earlier shooting when they came upon Keith.

According to Medical Examiner Thomas Gilson’s statement in the autopsy, “Police responded to reports of a man waving a gun,” when they encountered Keith.

The investigation of the shooting was handled by Cleveland Division of Police, who have declined requests for surveillance and body cam footage of the incident.

The special prosecution section of the Ohio Attorney General’s office is now handling the case.

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