Tanisha Anderson's Death Ruled a Homicide; County Takes Over Tamir Rice Case

A freeze-frame from surveillance video showing a Cleveland police officer shooting Tamir Rice.
A freeze-frame from surveillance video showing a Cleveland police officer shooting Tamir Rice.

The medical examiner’s office wrote that the death on November 13th was “associated with physical restraint in a prone position in association with ischemic heart disease and Bipolar disorder with agitation.” Anderson’s family called police to take her to the hospital but when she resisted, an officer reportedly placed his knee on her back while handcuffing her. Cuyahoga County Judge C. Ellen Connally is experienced investigating deadly use of force by police as a special prosecutor. She says the ruling of homicide does not mean a crime was committed but merely that she died at the hands of another person…

““If a person is executed by the state of Ohio that’s a homicide because they’re dying at the hands of another person. Even if it’s self-defense. The term “homicide” means it’s at the hands of another person. It still to be determined whether it’s justifiable. Obviously it wasn't of natural causes. She wasn’t suicidal. But she died – and now whether this was justified or unjustified, that has to be determined by the grand jury or the prosecutor.”

One month ago a Justice Department report found that Cleveland police have used “excessive force against persons who are mentally ill and in crisis.” After the deadly shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, the city asked the county sheriff to investigate the police actions. County Council president Dan Brady met with county officials this morning who agreed to take on that role.

"It’s the way we’re going to go. There’ll be several steps to this but that’ll be the beginning and then we’ll go on to the prosecutor’s office.”

Brady says after the Justice Department report people feel the county sheriff will be seen as a more neutral investigator of the Cleveland police. Members of Tanisha Anderson’s family are calling for a criminal investigation and an independent prosecutor. Clifford Pinkney will be in charge of the sheriff's investigation. He’s the first African-American police chief in the sheriff’s department.

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