Cuyahoga County

Cleveland Police Officer indicted in suspect’s fatal shooting

9/16/2016

Cleveland – A Cleveland police officer has been indicted for Negligent Homicide in the 2015 death of an unarmed 18-year-old breaking and entering suspect, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty announced today.

Patrolman Alan Buford was charged by a Cuyahoga County Grand Jury with fatally shooting Brandon Jones outside a Parkwood Avenue store during the early morning hours of March 19, 2015.

Patrolman Buford and his partner, Patrolman Gregory King, had responded to a report of a break-in at the Parkwood Grocery and with guns drawn confronted Mr. Jones as he exited the store carrying a bag of stolen items including coins, cigars, and cigarettes.

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

The shooting was investigated by the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department, the Cleveland Division of Police and the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office.

“Based on the known evidence, our Office recommended and the Grand Jury agreed that Officer Buford’s conduct did not meet the U.S. Supreme Court’s legal standards to justify a police officer’s use of deadly force,” said Prosecutor McGinty. “It was reasonable for the police to respond as they did to a 911 call of a break-in, reasonable to confront the suspect with guns drawn as he left the store with stolen merchandise and to order him to stop. It is not reasonable for a police officer to use deadly force if he or she does not believe a suspect poses a threat of death or serious bodily harm to the police or the public. Therefore, based on the facts and circumstances in this case, we recommended criminal charges against Officer Buford and the Grand Jury agreed.”

It is the policy of the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office to investigate all fatal uses of deadly force by law enforcement officers and to present the evidence to the Grand Jury. That way a panel of citizens makes the final determination of possible criminal charges.

Under the Ohio Revised Code, Negligent Homicide is a misdemeanor. If convicted, Officer Buford could get a sentence of up to 180 days in County Jail.

Read the indictment here.

Contact: Joseph Frolik, Director of Communications and Public Policy. Phone: 216.443.7488 or Email: jfrolik@prosecutor.cuyahogacounty.us