Cuyahoga County

Policy of The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office Regarding Fatal Use of Deadly Force by Law Enforcement Officers

To ensure public confidence in the integrity of the Criminal Justice System, the policy of the County Prosecutor’s Office will be to present the facts of every fatal police shooting and of all other fatal uses of deadly force by law enforcement officers in Cuyahoga County to the Grand Jury for review. We are committed in these cases to conducting a thorough investigation that satisfies both the high standards of this office and the needs of the Grand Jury.

All relevant facts that are gathered by the police and, if necessary,by our own investigators will be presented to the Grand Jury in its traditional investigative role.

In addition, during the course of its investigation, the County Prosecutor’s Office will listen to and consider credible evidence from any source, including defense attorneys and lawyers who may be representing the deceased’s family in civil litigation against the city.

At the conclusion of an investigation and Grand Jury presentation, the decision to charge or not charge ultimately rests with the Grand Jury.

If at the conclusion of the Grand Jury presentation, the County Prosecutor’s Office does not believe there is sufficient evidence to charge the police officer or officers with a crime or believes that the use of deadly force was justifiable by law or necessary by duty, the Grand Jury is informed that it has the final say. If they disagree with the assessment of the County Prosecutor’s Office, Grand Jurors can ask for a true bill-no bill opportunity or they can ask to hear additional witnesses and evidence.

This policy has been followed in all fatal police cases we have investigated since May of 2013.