Cases & Deals

Decorated 36-year veteran of the Cleveland police force is cleared of all charges resulting from the fatal shooting of an unarmed bank robbery suspect

Clients Simone, James

The Cleveland Office recently achieved a great result in its pro bono representation of a Cleveland police officer in his appearance before the grand jury related to his fatal shooting of an unarmed bank robbery suspect. Jones Day Cleveland office undertook this representation when asked to do so by one of the Ohio state trial court judges. Our client is a highly decorated 36-year veteran of the Cleveland police force and is one of the city's most well-known officers. He has also fatally shot five suspects during his career, each of which was ruled justifiable. Last July, our client walked in on a bank robbery while off duty. After a foot chase, our client confronted the suspect in his getaway vehicle. The suspect ignored our client's instructions to show his hands, instead reaching for something in his pocket, which our client feared was a gun. Our client fired his weapon one time, fatally wounding the suspect. An investigation revealed the suspect was not armed, contrary to our client's belief. Investigations by the Cleveland Police Department and Internal Affairs cleared our client, ruling the shooting justified, and he was returned to active duty.

The City Prosecutor's Officer, however, waited several months and performed its own investigation and, in February, referred the case to the County Prosecutor's Officer for presentation to a grand jury. The City also alerted the media, making what should have been confidential proceedings highly publicized. The matter was presented to the grand jury, and our client testified on his own behalf. On March 5, 2009, the grand jury returned a no-bill, bringing this matter to a conclusion, which also was the lead story of the local media.